Is a single preoperative duplex scan sufficient for planning bilateral carotid endarterectomy?

Ahmed M. Abou-Zamzam, Gregory L. Moneta, James M. Edwards, Richard A. Yeager, Lloyd M. Taylor, John M. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Purpose: Duplex scanning is often the sole imaging study before carotid endarterectomy (CEA). Patients with bilateral severe internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis may be considered for bilateral CEA. High-grade ICA stenosis, however, may artifactually elevate velocity measurements used to quantify stenosis in the contralateral ICA. It is unknown whether ipsilateral CEA will influence duplex determination of the presence of a contralateral 60% to 99% ICA stenosis. This study was performed to determine whether a single preoperative duplex scan is sufficient to plan bilateral CEA. Methods: Preoperative and early postoperative carotid duplex scans in patients with bilateral ICA stenosis who underwent unilateral CEA were reviewed. Changes in duplex scans that determined stenosis in the ICA contralateral to the CEA were analyzed. Previously validated criteria used to determine 60% to 99% ICA stenosis were a peak systolic velocity (PSV) of 260 cm/sec or more combined with an end diastolic velocity (EDV) of 70 cm/sec or more. Results: Over an 8-year period, 460 patients underwent CEA; 107 patients (23.3%) had an asymptomatic 50% to 99% contralateral ICA stenosis by standard criteria (PSV, >125 cm/sec) and an early postoperative duplex scan examination. Of these 107 patients, 38 patients (35.5%) had duplex scan criteria for 60% to 99% contralateral ICA stenosis. In these 38 patients, there was a mean postoperative PSV decrease of 47.7 cm/sec (10.1%) and a mean EDV decrease of 36.0 cm/sec (19.3%) in the ICA contralateral to the CEA. Eight of 38 (21.1%) preoperative contralateral 60% to 99% ICA lesions were reclassified as less than 60% on postoperative duplex scanning. Six of 69 (8.7%) preoperative lesions of less than 60% were reclassified as 60% to 99% on postoperative duplex scan. These six preoperative examinations were all close to the criteria for 60% to 99% stenosis (mean PSV, 232.5 cm/sec; mean EDV, 62.5 cm/sec). Conclusion: One-fifth of patients with apparent 60% to 99% contralateral ICA lesions before the operation have less than 60% stenosis when restudied with duplex scan after unilateral CEA. Lesions below but near the cutoff for 60% to 99% may be reclassified as 60% to 99% on the postoperative duplex scan. These findings mandate that when duplex scanning is used as the sole imaging modality before CEA, patients with severe bilateral carotid stenosis must have an additional carotid duplex examination before operation on the second side.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-288
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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