Objective: To determine whether the rates of death and complications of carotid endarterectomy (CE) were different in the octogenarian population than in patients younger than age 80. Summary Background Data: The utility of CE depends on the ability of the surgeon and hospital to attain low rates of death and complications, including all subgroups of the patient population. In the past 30 years, the number of people age 85 and older has increased 274%. Methods: Detailed chart review was carried out on all CE procedures done from 1979 through 1998. Descriptive demographic data, risk factors, surgical details, length of stay, deaths, and complications were recorded. Results: A total of 2,398 CEs were performed in 1,970 patients; 2,180 procedures were performed in 1,783 patients younger than 80, and 218 CEs were performed in 187 patients age 80 and older. Sixty-five percent of the octogenarians and 67% of patients younger than age 80 had neurologic symptoms. Among asymptomatic patients, 89% had stenosis of 75% or more. There were 62 strokes in the 2,180 procedures in the younger group, for a stroke rate of 2.8%, and 7 strokes in the 218 procedures in the older group, for a stroke rate of 3.2%. The death rates were 0.9% for the octogenarians and 1.4% for the younger group. Conclusions: Carotid endarterectomy can be safely performed in a community hospital in patients age 80 and older. Outcomes in octogenarians were not significantly different than those of younger patients and were within the range required for CE to be considered beneficial in the prevention of stroke.
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