Health Discoveries in General Health News

Risks of carotid surgery weighed by researchers

December 14, 2010
Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have developed a risk prediction rule to assess the dangers associated with carotid artery surgery.


Those with asymptomatic carotid disease can suffer a stroke if their condition is not treated surgically, but the surgery for the disease can precipitate a stroke as well.


The new assessment takes into account the patient's sex, race and health history to determine if the surgery should be undertaken or may cause complications. Published in the journal Stroke, the study found that those at greatest risk are female, non-white and have certain neurologic and heart diseases.

 

"Asymptomatic patients achieve only a modest benefit from surgery - their chance of stroke decreases from 2 percent annually to 1 percent annually - because they have a lower chance of having a stroke in the first place," said Dr. Ethan Halm, chief of the university's internal medicine division. "For patients with several other medical risk factors, the upfront risk of surgery can outweigh any potential long-term benefits."


A stroke study under way within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, is comparing the effectiveness of two drugs - the anticoagulant Warfarin (Coumadin) and aspirin, which prevents blood from clotting - that are used to treat patients with poor heart function.
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