Temporal Trends and Contemporary Regional Variation in Management of Patients Undergoing Carotid Endarterectomy

Ashley Penton, Robert Kelly, Linda Le, Matthew Blecha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The purpose of this study is to investigate regional variation and temporal trends in seven quality metrics amongst CEA patients: discharge on antiplatelet after CEA; discharge on statin after CEA; protamine administration during CEA; patch placement at conventional CEA site; continued statin usage at the time of most recent follow-up; continued antiplatelet usage at the time of most recent follow-up; and smoking cessation at the time of long term follow up. Methods: There are 19 de-identified regions within the VQI database in the United States. Patients were placed into one of three temporal eras based on the time of their CEA: 2003-2008; 2009-2015; and 2016-2022. We first investigated temporal trends across the seven quality metrics for all regions combined on a national basis. The percentage of patients in each time era with the presence/absence of each metric was identified. Chi-squared testing was performed to confirm statistical significance of the differences across eras. Next, analysis was performed within each region and within each time metric. We separated out the 2016-2022 patients within each region to serve as the status of each metric application in the most modern era. We then compared the frequency of metric non-adherence in each region utilizing Chi-squared testing. Results: There was statistically significant improvement in achievement of all seven metrics between the initial 2003-2008 era and the modern 2016-2022 era. The most marked change in practice pattern was noted for lack of protamine usage at surgery (decreased from 48.7% to 25.9%), discharge home postoperatively without statin (decreased from 50.6% to 15.3%), and lack of statin usage confirmed at time of most recent long term follow up (decreased from 24% to 8.9%). Significant regional variation exists across all metrics (P <.01 for all). Lack of patch placement at the time of conventional endarterectomy ranges from 1.9% to 17.8% across regions in the modern era. Lack of protamine utilization ranges from 10.8% to 49.7%. Lack of antiplatelet and statin at the time of discharge varies from 5.5% to 8.2% and 4.8% to 14.4% respectively. Adherence to the various measures at the time of most recent follow up are more tightly aligned across regions with ranges of: 5.3% to 7.5% for lack of antiplatelet usage; 6.6% to 11.7% lack of statin utilization; and 13.3 to 15.4% for persistent smoking. Conclusions: Prior studies and societal initiatives on CEA documenting the beneficial effects of patch angioplasty, protamine use at surgery, smoking cessation, antiplatelet utilization and statin compliance have positively impacted adherence to these measures over time. In the modern 2016-2022 era the widest regional variation is noted in patch placement, protamine utilization and discharge medications allowing individual geographic areas to identify areas for potential improvement via internal VQI administrative feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalVascular and Endovascular Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • carotid endarterectomy
  • medical therapy for atherosclerosis
  • patch angioplasty for CEA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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