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Management of carotid bifurcation stenosis in stroke prevention has been the subject of extensive investigations, including multiple randomized controlled trials. The proper treatment of patients with carotid bifurcation disease is of major interest to vascular surgeons and other vascular specialists. In 2011, the Society for Vascular Surgery published guidelines for treatment of carotid artery disease. At the time, several randomized trials, comparing carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and carotid artery stenting (CAS), were published. Since that publication, several studies and a few systematic reviews comparing CEA and CAS have been published, and the role of medical management has been re-emphasized. The current publication updates and expands the 2011 guidelines with specific emphasis on five areas: is carotid endarterectomy recommended over maximal medical therapy in low risk patients; is carotid endarterectomy recommended over trans-femoral carotid artery stenting in low surgical risk patients with symptomatic carotid artery stenosis of >50%; timing of carotid Intervention in patients presenting with acute stroke; screening for carotid artery stenosis in asymptomatic patients; and optimal sequence for intervention in patients with combined carotid and coronary artery disease. A separate implementation document will address other important clinical issues in extracranial cerebrovascular disease. Recommendations are made using the GRADE (Grades of Recommendation Assessment, Development and Evaluation) approach, as has been done with other Society for Vascular Surgery guidelines. The committee recommends CEA as the first-line treatment for symptomatic low risk surgical patients with stenosis of 50% to 99% and asymptomatic patients with stenosis of 70% to 99%. The perioperative risk of stroke and death in asymptomatic patients must be <3% to ensure benefit for the patient. In patients with recent stable stroke (modified Rankin 0-2), carotid revascularization is considered appropriate in symptomatic patients with greater than 50% stenosis and is recommended and performed as soon as the patient is neurologically stable after 48 hours but definitely before 14 days of onset of symptoms. In the general population, screening for clinically asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis in patients without cerebrovascular symptoms or significant risk factors for carotid artery disease is not recommended. In selected asymptomatic patients who are at increased risk for carotid stenosis, we suggest screening for clinically asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis as long as the patients would potentially be fit for and willing to consider carotid intervention if significant stenosis is discovered. In patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis 50-99%, who require both CEA and CABG, we suggest CEA before or concomitant with CABG to potentially reduce the risk of stroke and stroke/death. The sequencing of the intervention depends on clinical presentation and institutional experience.

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Authors: Ali F AbuRahma, Efthymios Makis Avgerinos, Robert W Chang, R Clement Darling, Audra A Duncan, Thomas L Forbes, Mahmoud B Malas, Mohammad Hassan Murad, Bruce Alan Perler, Richard J Powell, Caron B Rockman, Wei Zhou