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
"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.