Periprocedural Drug Therapy in Carotid Artery Stenting: The Need for More Evidence

Department of Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8089, USA.
Vascular (Impact Factor: 0.8). 12/2008; 16(6):303-9. DOI: 10.2310/6670.2008.00081
Source: PubMed


Carotid artery stenting (CAS) is a widely accepted alternative for patients at high risk for carotid endarterectomy (CEA). However, the role, indications, and evidence for many pharmacologic agents that are used adjunctively in the periprocedural setting have not been established. Several drugs are commonly used before, during, and after CAS, but their uses have not been standardized. Large prospective cohort studies with good validity or randomized trials are needed to demonstrate efficacy, predict outcome, and determine the optimal use of these medications in patients undergoing CAS to improve patient care and obtain optimal outcomes. Several conclusions can be made: (1) dual-antiplatelet therapy (aspirin and clopidogrel) is commonly used for CAS; (2) the most commonly used regimen is aspirin 325 mg and clopidogrel 75 mg per day, but the optimal time of therapy is unknown; and (3) the dose and regimen of other agents used for CAS are not established.

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    ABSTRACT: Management of anti-platelet therapy during carotid artery stenting (CAS) is mainly based on indirect evidence from coronary stenting experience. There is common agreement on the use of thienopyridine (mainly second-generation) during CAS, but some patients are unsuitable for clopidogrel treatment and data on the benefit of its use in large CAS populations are lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate whether clopidogrel was associated with reduced perioperative morbidity in patients undergoing CAS. Consecutive patients undergoing CAS for primary carotid stenosis from 2004 to 2009 were reviewed. The independent association of clopidogrel and perioperative morbidity was assessed using multivariable analysis. A total of 1083 patients were treated (29% females, mean age 71.6 years); 825 (76%) patients were given clopidogrel starting before treatment. Clopidogrel use was associated with a non-significant reduction of perioperative stroke/death (4.3% vs. 2.4%; p = 0.13) and disabling stroke (1.2% vs. 1.0%; p = 1) rates. The non-significant stroke/death difference was similar in symptomatic (5.8% vs. 4.0%, p = 0.37) and asymptomatic (3.7% vs. 1.9%; p = 0.17) patients. After adjusting for demographics, co-morbidities and other therapies with multivariable analysis, clopidogrel use failed to show any significant independent association in decreasing operative risks. The only independent protective factor was use of statins (p = 0.010). The additional use of dual anti-platelet therapy did not add any advantage to the use of clopidogrel alone. The suggested benefit of clopidogrel in decreasing the incidence of complications in patients undergoing CAS may be overestimated due to the overlapping effect of other more relevant factors (e.g., pleiotropy and plaque stabilisation from statins). More data and level I evidence are needed to understand which is the best medical management of CAS that will help improve outcomes of the procedure.
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