In late February 2010, the National Institutes of Health announced findings of a landmark nine-year study comparing treatments for clogged arteries: surgical removal of plaque (carotid endarterectomy) versus the insertion of a wire mesh tube with a balloon catheter that is inflated to open arteries (stenting).
The trial, which included 2,502 patients (with an average age of 69), “provides doctors and patients with much-needed risk/benefit information to help choose the best carotid procedure based on an individual’s health history,” said Walter Koroshetz, M.D., director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Across the board, regardless of sex and the medical facility, surgical results were slightly better for those 70 and older and stenting results were slightly better for those 69 and younger. Subsequent to treatment, those in the surgical group experienced more heart attacks (2.3 percent vs. 1.1 percent in the stent group); those in the stent group experienced more strokes
(4.1 percent vs. 2.3 percent in the
However, a year after the procedure, those who had suffered a stroke reported its effects more greatly impacted their quality of life than the effects reported by those who suffered a heart attack.