Previous data showed superior outcomes of carotid endarterectomy (CEA) compared with transfemoral carotid artery stenting (TFCAS) in elderly patients because of an increased stroke risk in TFCAS-treated patients. Transcarotid artery revascularization (TCAR) with flow reversal was developed to mitigate the maneuvers at highest risk for causing stroke during TFCAS, such as manipulation of a diseased aortic arch and crossing of the carotid lesion before deployment of an embolic protection device. This study aimed to compare the association between age and outcomes after TCAR, TFCAS, and CEA.
All patients undergoing carotid procedures in the Society for Vascular Surgery Vascular Quality Initiative database between 2015 and November 2018 were included. Patients were divided into three different age groups (≤70 years, 71-79 years, and ≥80 years). In-hospital outcomes after TCAR vs TFCAS and after TCAR vs CEA were compared in each age group by introducing an interaction term between treatment type and age in the logistic regression analysis after adjustment for patients’ preoperative characteristics.
The study cohort included 3152 TCAR, 10,381 TFCAS, and 61,650 CEA cases. The absolute and adjusted in-hospital outcomes after TCAR did not change across the different age groups. The rates of in-hospital stroke/death after TCAR were 1.4% in patients ≤70 years vs 1.9% in patients 71 to 79 years and 1.5% in patients ≥80 years (P = .55). Comparison of TCAR to CEA across different age groups showed no significant differences in outcomes, and no interaction was noted between treatment and age in predicting in-hospital stroke/death (P = .80). In contrast, TCAR was associated with a 72% reduction in stroke risk (4.7% vs 1%; odds ratio [OR], 0.28; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.12-0.65; P < .01), 65% reduction in risk of stroke/death (4.6% vs 1.5%; OR, 0.35; 95% CI, 0.20-0.62; P < .001), and 76% reduction in the risk of stroke/death/myocardial infarction (5.3% vs 2.5%; OR, 0.24; 95% CI, 0.12-0.47; P < .001) compared with TFCAS in patients ≥80 years. Moreover, compared with TCAR, the odds of stroke/death after TFCAS doubled at 77 years (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.4-3.0; P < .01) and tripled at 90 years (OR, 3.0; 95% CI, 1.6-5.8; P < .01; P value for the interaction = .08).
TCAR is a relatively safe procedure regardless of the patient’s age. The advantages of TCAR become more pronounced in elderly patients, with significant reductions in in-hospital stroke compared with TFCAS in patients ≥77 years old, independent of symptomatic status and other medical comorbidities. These findings suggest that TCAR should be preferred to TFCAS in elderly patients who are at high surgical risk.

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