Certain stroke prevention surgery may now be option for older seniors

Share this content:
Conventional wisdom holds that it is too risky for older seniors to undergo certain stroke prevention surgeries. That thinking may soon change, thanks to new research.

Endarterectomy is a stroke-preventing surgery that clears blockages from the carotid artery in the neck. While the procedure has been used effectively to prevent stroke in younger patients, those over the age of 80 have long been thought too fragile to undergo the surgery. Researchers at the Huntington Hospital, Pasadena, CA, and the Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, followed 95 patients between the ages of 80 and 94 after receiving endarterectomy surgery. They found that the risk of stroke or death was very low after the procedure-less than 3%.

Between 10% and 20% of the nearly 700,000 strokes that occur annually in the U.S. are due to carotid artery disease, according to the report. As a result of the growing elderly population, endarterectomy could provide new treatment options for preventing stroke in that cohort, according to the report, which appears in the October issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.