Examination of regional anesthesia for carotid endarterectomy

Laura Pasin, Pasquale Nardelli, Giovanni Landoni, Guglielmo Cornero, Silvio Magrin, Yamume Tshomba, Roberto Chiesa, Alberto Zangrillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Carotid endarterectomy is the most effective treatment for reducing the risk of stroke in patients with significant carotid stenosis. Few studies have focused on the failure rate of regional anesthesia. Methods Data of all patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy (June 2009 to December 2014) in a single center were collected. Combined deep and superficial cervical plexus block or superficial plexus block alone was used according to the attending anesthesiologist's choice and the patient's characteristics (eg, dual antiplatelet or anticoagulation therapy). Intraoperative remifentanil (0.025-0.05 μg/kg/min) was administered to maintain an adequate level of comfort, responsiveness, and cooperation. General anesthesia was planned only in the case of major contraindications or the patient's refusal of locoregional anesthesia. The primary end point of our study was the incidence of intraoperative conversion from locoregional to general anesthesia. Results A total of 2463 carotid endarterectomies were included in the analysis. Regional anesthesia was initially chosen in 2439 patients, whereas 24 patients received planned general anesthesia. In seven cases, regional anesthesia was converted to general anesthesia because of severe agitation of the patient (before clamping in four cases, after carotid clamping in two cases, and after declamping in one case). A shunt was used in 302 patients (12.3%) because of neurologic deterioration at the carotid clamping test. Intraoperative complications were emergent repeated surgical procedures in 13 cases (0.53%) because of acute neurologic deterioration, 1 intraoperative acute myocardial infarction (0.04%), and 3 cases (0.04%) of hemodynamically relevant supraventricular tachyarrhythmia. No intraoperative death occurred. In-hospital mortality was 0.12% (three patients). Major stroke occurred in 23 patients (0.93%); minor stroke occurred in 16 patients (0.65%). The combined stroke and death rate was 1.62% (40 patients). Conclusions In our practice, carotid endarterectomy under regional anesthesia is safe and associated with a very low rate of conversion to general anesthesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)631-634
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Medicine(all)


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