Transcranial Doppler-directed Dextran-40 therapy is a cost-effective method of preventing carotid thrombosis after carotid endarterectomy.
Hayes PD., Lloyd AJ., Lennard N., Wolstenholme JL., London NJ., Bell PR., Naylor AR.
OBJECTIVES: perioperative stroke reduces the clinical effectiveness of carotid endarterectomy (CEA). Postoperative thrombotic stroke may be reduced in incidence by the use of transcranial Doppler-directed Dextran-40 therapy. This programme requires the purchase of additional equipment and employment of more staff. This study examined whether this additional financial outlay was cost-effective in terms of saving expenditure by preventing postoperative thrombotic stroke. MATERIALS AND METHODS: data was collected prospectively on a series of 600 consecutive CEAs. The costs of the monitoring programme were analysed over 1- and 5-year periods. Formulae were derived allowing other units to calculate whether this technique will be cost-effective for them. RESULTS: after the introduction of TCD monitoring the postoperative thrombotic stroke rate fell from 2.7% to 0% (8 strokes prevented). Our local unit cost for the treatment of stroke was 25,702 pounds. After allowing for the additional costs of the monitoring programme, we calculate that postoperative TCD has saved 171,393 pounds. CONCLUSIONS: postoperative TCD monitoring is a clinically effective and also cost-effective method of reducing the stroke rate associated with CEA. For units performing more than 50 CEAs per year who experience occasional postoperative carotid thrombosis, its introduction should be considered.