To review the outcome of a consecutive series of patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy with a focus on length of stay.
Retrospective case review.
Six hundred-bed community hospital.
During a 40-month period, we performed 266 carotid endarterectomies. Ages of patients ranged from 49 to 91 years (mean, 71.2 years). Seventy-two percent were hypertensive, 55% were smokers, 24% were diabetic, and 22% had symptomatic heart disease. Indications for operation included asymptomatic stenosis in 48% of patients, transient ischemia attack in 23%, stroke in 24%, and nonhemispheric symptoms in 5%.
Perioperative complications and conditions precluding early hospital discharge were noted. In patients discharged within 48 hours of operation, problems requiring readmission within 30 days were recorded.
Five patients (1.9%) experienced perioperative strokes, of which three were permanent and two temporary. There was one perioperative death. Hospital stays ranged from 1 to 9 days (mean, 1.7 days). Sixty-three percent of the patients were discharged within 24 hours and 88% within 48 hours of operation. Patients staying in the hospital more than 48 hours were significantly older (P=.008). Other factors did not correlate with length of stay. Readmission was required in five patients.
Patients having an uneventful course following carotid endarterectomy may be safely discharged within 48 hours of operation. Complications occurring after this time are infrequent and often unpredictable. It is unlikely that lengthening patient stay would decrease or eliminate these complications.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:887-891)