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Carotid Artery Surgery May Prevent Stroke

Get a Good Surgeon

In a commentary in The Lancet, one surgeon points out that choosing your surgeon carefully is essential.

"Patients must recognize that with good medical care, they face only a 2% annual stroke rate, which falls below 1% after a successful carotid artery [surgery]," writes H.J M. Barnett, MD, of Ontario, Canada. But if the surgery is performed under less than optimal conditions, the benefits "could be obliterated."

He advises checking the surgeon's track record, which should be readily available from the referring physician. Any hospital should require an independent audit of surgical death rates and ensure their ready availability, Barnett writes. Having a less-than-skilled surgeon "quickly casts [carotid surgery] into the list of 'risk factors for stroke,'" he concludes.

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