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Early carotid endarterectomy following thrombolysis in the hyperacute treatment of stroke


  • Presented to the Annual Scientific Meeting of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland, Bournemouth, UK, May 2008, and published in abstract form as Br J Surg 2008; 95(Suppl 3): 188



Thrombolysis with intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator improves the probability of complete neurological recovery if given promptly following the onset of acute ischaemic stroke. Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) can reduce the risk of further embolic stroke in selected patients and is most effective within 14 days of the incident event. The safety of surgery so soon after thrombolysis is unknown. The aim of this study was to report the immediate outcomes of this management strategy early in the unit experience and to encourage pooling of data, recognizing that this will be an uncommon procedure even in busy stoke units with an active lysis programme.


Data were extracted from two prospectively collected databases, and included patient demographics, type of stroke, type and timing of surgical procedure, and immediate outcome. On presentation with a stroke, all patients underwent urgent computed tomography (CT) of the brain. Those eligible received thrombolysis according to the unit protocol. They underwent CT angiography 24 h after thrombolysis and patients with a severe carotid stenosis had surgery.


Ten of a cohort of 450 patients who had received lysis underwent CEA. Seven of these were women and eight of the procedures were carried out under local anaesthetic. Surgery was performed a median of 8 (range 2–23) days after the index event; there were no major complications.


Few patients with acute stroke are eligible, but CEA performed soon after thrombolytic therapy for stroke appears to be safe. Copyright © 2010 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.