Variation in Carotid Artery Stenosis Measurements Among Facilities Seeking Carotid Stenting Facility Accreditation.

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BACKGROUND: Based on the inclusion criteria of clinical trials, the degree of cervical carotid artery stenosis is often used as an indication for stent placement in the setting of extracranial carotid atherosclerotic disease. However, the rigor and consistency with which stenosis is measured outside of clinical trials are unclear. In an agreement study using a cross-sectional sample, we compared the percent stenosis as measured by real-world physician operators to that measured by independent expert reviewers.

METHODS: As part of the carotid stenting facility accreditation review, images were obtained from 68 cases of patients who underwent carotid stent placement. Data collected included demographics, stroke severity measures, and the documented degree of stenosis, termed operator-reported stenosis (ORS), by 34 operators from 14 clinical sites. The ORS was compared with reviewer-measured stenosis (RMS) as assessed by 5 clinicians experienced in treating carotid artery disease.

RESULTS: The median ORS was 90.0% (interquartile range, 80.0%-90.0%) versus a median RMS of 61.1% (interquartile range, 49.8%-73.6%), with a median difference of 21.8% (interquartile range, 13.7%-34.4%),

CONCLUSIONS: Real-world operators tend to overestimate carotid artery stenosis compared with external expert reviewers. Measurements from facilities granted initial accreditation were closer to expert measurements than those from facilities whose accreditation was delayed. Since decisions regarding carotid revascularization are often based on percent stenosis, such measuring discrepancies likely lead to increased procedural utilization.

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Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation





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