Physicians should be comfortable referring some patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) for effective stroke prevention surgery, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). The findings indicate that CKD patients gain a significant benefit from the procedures without an increased risk of dying from surgical complications.
For people who develop blockages in their arteries, physicians recommend surgery to clear the blood vessels and lower the risk of stroke. However, physicians are often hesitant to refer patients with CKD to undergo this type of surgery – called carotid endarterectomy – because CKD patients have a high risk of complications and death after undergoing invasive surgeries.
Amit Garg MD, PhD, and Anna Mathew, MD (Lawson Health Research Institute and the University of Western Ontario, Canada), and their colleagues wondered about the role of surgery in preventing strokes in CKD patients. They analysed data from the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial (NASCET), and found that carotid endarterectomy dramatically reduces a CKD patient’s risk of future strokes.
Dr Garg, Dr Mathew, and colleagues examined the benefits and risks of carotid endarterectomy in CKD patients by analysing the NASCET kidney function data (gathered during the course of the trial but unpublished). They examined information from 524 CKD patients and compared it with information from 966 individuals with normal kidney function.
The analysis revealed that when patients with mild to moderate CKD underwent carotid endarterectomy, their risk of stroke was greatly reduced while their risk of death was not increased. The risk of experiencing a stroke over a two-year period was reduced by 82%.
"We hope the results of our important study inform physicians about the appropriateness of carotid endarterectomy surgery for their patients with kidney disease," said Dr Garg.
(Source: American Society of Nephrology: Journal of the American Society Nephrology: December 2009)