Prior Intravenous Stroke Thrombolysis Does Not Increase Complications of Carotid Endarterectomy [Original Contributions]

Background and Purpose—Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is recommended within 14 days after carotid artery stroke to prevent recurrence. However, the optimal timing of CEA after intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) remains unclear. We studied the safety of CEA after IVT while taking into account both stroke recurrence and CEA-related complications.Methods—Patients who underwent IVT followed by CEA in Helsinki University Hospital 2005 to 2016 were withdrawn from prospectively collected registers. The incidence of stroke recurrence during the time between IVT and CEA, peri/postoperative stroke, hyperperfusion syndrome or drug-resistant high blood pressure, and 3-month outcome measured by modified Rankin Scale was recorded. Stroke patients treated with CEA without preceding IVT were used as controls.Results—Altogether 128 CEAs with preceding IVT and 777 CEAs for stroke without IVT were identified. The median time from IVT to CEA was 9 days (range, 0–349 days; interquartile range, 16). Seven patients (5.5%) underwent CEA within 24 hours, 20 (15.6%) within 48 hours and 87 (68.0%) within 2 weeks from IVT. Stroke recurrence in IVT-CEA patients was 5.5% at median 4 days after IVT (range, 0–8 days). Outcome from CEAs performed within 48 hours from IVT did not differ from CEAs performed later with respect to peri/postoperative ischemic strokes (5.0% and 3.7%), hemorrhagic strokes (5.0% and 1.9%), neck hematomas (5.0% and 8.3%), myocardial infarctions (0.0% and 0.9%), or 3-month modified Rankin Scale. There was a tendency toward higher incidence of hyperperfusion syndrome in the patients operated within 48 hours from IVT (20.0% versus 6.5%; P=0.070). The CEA-related stroke rate was similar to that of the operation without thrombolysis. Only smoking was significantly associated with peri/postoperative stroke (odds ratio, 21.82; 95% confidence interval, 1.08–439.58).Conclusions—Time between IVT and CEA was not associated with CEA-related complications. The high rate of stroke recurrence during the waiting time for CEA underscores the importance of shortening surgery delays.