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BACKGROUND: To update appropriateness ratings for carotid endarterectomy using the best clinical evidence and to develop a tool to audit the procedure's use. METHODS: A nine-member expert panel drawn from all the Canadian Specialist societies that are involved in the care of patients with carotid artery disease, used the RAND Appropriateness Methodology to rate scenarios where carotid endarterectomy may be performed. A 9-point rating scale was used that permits the categorization of the use of carotid endarterectomy as appropriate, uncertain, or inappropriate. A descriptive analysis was undertaken of the final results of the panel meeting. A database and code were then developed to rate all carotid endarterectomies performed in a Western Canadian Health region from 1997 to 2001. RESULTS: All scenarios for severe symptomatic stenosis (70-99%) were determined to be appropriate. The ratings for moderate symptomatic stenosis (50-69%) ranged from appropriate to inappropriate. It was never considered appropriate to perform endarterectomy for mild stenosis (0-49%) or for chronic occlusions. Endarterectomy for asymptomatic carotid disease was thought to be of uncertain benefit at best. The majority of indications for the combination of endarterectomy either prior to, or at time of coronary artery bypass grafting were inappropriate. The audit tool classified 98.0% of all cases. CONCLUSIONS: These expert panel ratings, based on the best evidence currently available, provide a comprehensive and updated guide to appropriate use of carotid endarterectomy. The resulting audit tool can be downloaded by readers from the Internet and immediately used for hospital audits of carotid endarterectomy appropriateness.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Health Serv Res

Publication Date





Algorithms, Carotid Stenosis, Cerebral Angiography, Coronary Artery Bypass, Endarterectomy, Carotid, Humans, Ischemic Attack, Transient, Magnetic Resonance Angiography, Medical Audit, Severity of Illness Index, Technology Assessment, Biomedical, Utilization Review