Timing of postcarotid complications: A guide to safe discharge planning

Maureen K. Sheehan, William H. Baker, Fred N. Littooy, M. Ashraf Mansour, Steven S. Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objectives: Currently, our standard of practice is that patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy (CEA) may be safely discharged on the first postoperative day. Because many patients do not appear to require overnight observation, we wanted to determine the safety and feasibility of same-evening discharge by establishing the timing of postoperative complications, which may potentially require operative intervention. Methods: A total of 835 consecutive patients undergoing CEA were retrospectively reviewed. Sixty-two patients had a postoperative wound hematoma or neurologic deficit (ND) (transient ischemic attack or stroke) within 24 hours of their operation, complications potentially requiring a second operation. Excluded were 64 patients not eligible for same-day discharge because of other reasons (eg, heparinization, CEA with coronary artery bypass grafting). Results: Sixty-two patients (8.0%) had ND (26 [3.4%]) or neck hematoma (NH) (36 [4.7%]) within 24 hours of their CEA. Nineteen (73%) of the NDs were diagnosed in the operating room or recovery room, 5 (19%) within 8 hours of the operation, and 2 (7.7%) after 8 hours but in less than 24 hours. Of the NHs, 23 (66%) were diagnosed in the recovery room, 11 (31%) within 8 hours, and 1 (2.7%) after 8 hours. Of the outliers, one patient experienced a blowout of the vein graft occurring on postoperative day 1, one patient had a delayed ipsilateral stroke, and one had a vertebrobasilar stroke. Overall, only three of 773 (0.4%) patients undergoing CEA had a complication occurring more than 8 hours after operation. Conclusion: NDs and NHs in post-CEA patients occurred within 8 hours of operation in 95% of those patients experiencing these complications or 99.6% of all CEA patients. These data indicate that same-evening discharge may be safely performed without increasing the adverse effects of stroke or hematoma. This plan has cautiously been initiated at this institution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-16
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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