Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

OBJECTIVES: to determine the role of carotid artery disease in the pathophysiology of stroke after coronary artery bypass (CABG). DESIGN: systematic review of the literature. RESULTS: the risk of stroke after CABG was 2% and remained unchanged between 1970-2000. Two-thirds occurred after day 1 and 23% died. 91% of screened CABG patients had no significant carotid disease and had a <2% risk of peri-operative stroke. Stroke risk increased to 3% in predominantly asymptomatic patients with a unilateral 50-99% stenosis, 5% in those with bilateral 50-99% stenoses and 7-11% in patients with carotid occlusion. Significant predictive factors for post-CABG stroke included; (i) carotid bruit (OR 3.6, 95% CI 2.8-4.6), (ii) prior stroke/TIA (OR 3.6, 95% CI 2.7-4.9) and (iii) severe carotid stenosis/occlusion (OR 4.3, 95% CI 3.2-5.7). However, the systematic review indicated that 50% of stroke sufferers did not have significant carotid disease and 60% of territorial infarctions on CT scan/autopsy could not be attributed to carotid disease alone. CONCLUSIONS: carotid disease is an important aetiological factor in the pathophysiology of post-CABG stroke. However, even assuming that prophylactic carotid endarterectomy carried no additional risk, it could only ever prevent about 40-50% of procedural strokes.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg

Publication Date





283 - 294


Carotid Artery Diseases, Coronary Artery Bypass, Endarterectomy, Carotid, Humans, Risk Factors, Stroke, Time Factors