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Stents, Surgery reduce 10-year Stroke Risk, Study Finds

Update Date: Feb 19, 2016 09:34 AM EST

Surgery and stents can equally lower a patient's risk of stroke, a new study found.

"Since there are about 800,000 strokes a year, we're talking about 40,000 to 50,000 strokes a year. If we can find the best way to prevent those strokes, then we will have provided a service to those patients," lead researcher Dr. Thomas Brott, a neurologist and professor of neurosciences at the Florida Mayo Clinic, said in a news release.

For this study, Dr. Brott and his colleagues examined how surgery to open up arteries and stents to keep the arteries wide affect stroke risk in participants from the Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy versus Stenting Trial. The data tracked 2,502 adults with the average aged of 69 who had undergone one of the two methods. The participants' health was monitored every six months for up to 10 years.

The researchers found that overall, about seven percent of the adults had suffered from a stroke during the follow-up portion of the study. They also reported that regardless of which procedure was done, the arteries re-narrowed (restenosis) only in about one percent of the patients each year.

"This very low rate shows these two procedures are safe and are also very durable in preventing stroke," Brott said. "Because Medicare-age patients with carotid narrowing are living longer, the durability of stenting and surgery will be reassuring to the patients and their families."

Virginia Howard, professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Publich Health added, "Over 140,000 carotid revascularizations are performed on a yearly basis, making these very common procedures. Previous results from CREST found stenting and surgery to be equally safe. The question then became which procedure has the most durability. We found that both procedures lower the long-term risk of stroke. The major risk difference between the procedures comes during the peri-procedural period."

The study was presented at the American Stroke Association's yearly meeting. It was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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