Carotid Duplex Poorly Predicts Stroke Risk During Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

Published:January 04, 2022DOI:


      Patients undergoing surgical aortic valve replacement, in isolation or with concomitant coronary artery bypass grafting, have historically been screened for carotid artery disease prior to surgery. Over the past decade, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) has incrementally become the predominant technique for the treatment of severe aortic stenosis. The relationship between internal carotid artery stenosis (ICAS) and risk of periprocedural stroke in the TAVR population is uncertain. We sought to evaluate our institution's outcomes with the TAVR procedure and the association with preoperative carotid duplex scan (CDS) results.


      A retrospective review of a single institution TAVR registry over a 5-year period was performed. All patients with pre-operative carotid imaging were included. Outcomes included in-hospital, 30-day, and 1-year stroke and all-cause mortality rates. The diagnosis of post-operative stroke was based on neurological exam and confirmed by radiologic imaging. Standard statistical analysis was performed.


      A total of 436 patients met inclusion criteria. The prevalence of ICAS >50% was 18.3% and 70-99% stenosis was 4.8%. The in-hospital stroke and mortality rates were 2.3% and 1.2%, respectively. The cumulative 30-day and 1- year stroke rates were 3.7% and 6%, respectively. All were ischemic in nature. Bilateral infarcts were identified in 46.2% of stroke patients and 11.5% had an ipsilateral ICAS >50%. A large majority of stroke patients (23, 88.5%) had an ipsilateral ICAS of <50%. Less than 0.5% of patients had ICAS >70% and subsequently had an ipsilateral stroke within 30 days of procedure.


      The preoperative CDS identified carotid lesions that met criteria for elective repair in only 4.8% of patients. Of these, 9.5% suffered a stroke in the first 30 days after surgery. Over 90% of patients who had a stroke had less than 70% stenosis present in either carotid artery and there was no correlation between degree of ICAS and risk of stroke during the follow-up period. Routine CDS prior to TAVR does not predict in-hospital or 30-day stroke. As TAVR programs evolve, expand, and proliferate across the country, routine preoperative CDS is unlikely to determine the need for pre-operative carotid revascularization or predict stroke risk.
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