This study states that Different competencies and skills are required and obtained during medical specialization. However, whether these have an impact on procedural outcomes of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) or carotid artery stenting (CAS) is unclear. We assessed the reported association between operator specialization and procedural outcomes after CEA or CAS to determine whether CEA and CAS should be performed by specific specialties. We systematically searched PubMed and Embase up to August 21, 2017, for randomized clinical trials and observational studies that compared two or more specialties performing CEA or CAS for symptomatic and asymptomatic carotid artery stenosis. The composite primary outcome was procedural stroke or death (ie, occurring within 30 days of the procedure or before discharge). Risk estimates were pooled with a generic inverse variance random effects model.

A total of 35 studies (26 providing data on CEA, 8 providing data on CAS, and 1 providing data on both CEA and CAS) were included, describing 256,033 CEA and 38,605 CAS procedures. For CEA, decreased risk of procedural stroke or death for operations performed by vascular surgeons was found with pooled unadjusted relative risk.

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