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BACKGROUND: Health outcomes and costs are both important when deciding whether general (GA) or local (LA) anaesthesia should be used during carotid endarterectomy. The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of carotid endarterectomy under LA or GA in patients with symptomatic or asymptomatic carotid stenosis for whom surgery was advised. METHODS: Using patient-level data from a large, multinational, randomized controlled trial (GALA Trial) time free from stroke, myocardial infarction or death, and costs incurred were evaluated. The cost-effectiveness outcome was incremental cost per day free from an event, within a time horizon of 30 days. RESULTS: A patient undergoing carotid endarterectomy under LA incurred fewer costs (mean difference pound178) and had a slightly longer event-free survival (difference 0.16 days, but the 95 per cent confidence limits around this estimate were wide) compared with a patient who had GA. Existing uncertainty did not have a significant impact on the decision to adopt LA, over a wide range of willingness-to-pay values. CONCLUSION: If cost-effectiveness was considered in the decision to adopt GA or LA for carotid endarterectomy, given the evidence provided by this study, LA is likely to be the favoured treatment for patients for whom either anaesthetic approach is clinically appropriate.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Surg

Publication Date





1218 - 1225


Adult, Aged, Anesthesia, General, Anesthesia, Local, Carotid Stenosis, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Disease-Free Survival, Endarterectomy, Carotid, Humans, Length of Stay, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Postoperative Complications, Stroke