Carotid endarterectomy improves cognitive function in patients with exchausted cerebrovascular reserve

S. J. Fearn, S. Hutchinson, G. Riding, G. Hill-Wilson, K. Wesnes, C. N. McCollum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. To investigate changes in cognitive function following carotid endarterectomy (CEA). Design. Prospective study with controls. Methods. CEA patients (n = 159) were compared to a urology surgery control group (n = 20). In CEA patients cerebrovascular reserve (CVR) was measured preoperatively. During surgery emboli and blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery were measured by transcranial Doppler (TCD) and cerebral oxygen saturation (CSO2) by near infrared spectroscopy. Cognitive function was measured preoperatively and at 5 days and 8 weeks postoperatively using a standardised computer battery of tests. Results. Only 8% of patients had normal CVR bilaterally. The median number of emboli during CEA was 12 (range 0-181). On carotid clamping, TCD velocity fell a median of 41% and cerebral oxygen saturation by 5%. Attention deteriorated compared to controls 5 days following CEA (p = 0.003) and this deterioration was related to the rise in TCD velocity on declamping (r = -0.3, p = 0.002). Median attention reaction times improved significantly by 8 weeks (p = 0.001) especially in patients' with severely impaired CVR before surgery (p = 0.02). Conclusions. Attention improved at 2 months following CEA in patients with impaired CVR. CEA may offer more than reduced stroke risk to patients with impaired CVR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-536
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


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