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A Journal on Cardiac, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery

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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2011 April;52(2):153-7

language: English

Does medical specialty influence the treatment of asymptomatic carotid stenosis? A Belgian multidisciplinary survey

Schrooten M. 1, Fourneau V. 2, Thijs V. 1, Verhamme P. 3, Nevelsteen A. 2

1 Department of Neurology, Leuven University Hospitals, Leuven, Belgium
2 Department of Vascular Surgery, Leuven University Hospitals, Leuven, Belgium
3 Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, Leuven University Hospitals, Leuven, Belgium


AIM: The aim of this study was to supplement the few data that exist regarding the potential effect of the referring medical specialty on the proposed treatment for asymptomatic carotid stenosis.
METHODS: In a web survey, we presented Belgian cardiologists, neurologists and vascular surgeons with two fairly uncomplicated case vignettes on asymptomatic carotid stenosis differing only in the degree of stenosis (70-80% in case 1 and >80% in case 2).
RESULTS: In both cases the suggested therapies were different per medical specialty (P<0.000002 and P<0.00002, respectively). Cardiologists were more conservative and vascular surgeons were more aggressive. Preferred therapies for both cases differed statistically significantly (odds ratio 8.63; 95% confidence interval 5.11-14.58). Suggesting a different therapy or not for case 1 and case 2 was also different per medical specialty (P<0.035). Cardiologists were most inclined to suggest a different therapy and vascular surgeons the least. Nobody switched to a more conservative treatment. Younger physicians suggested a more conservative approach (P<0.014).
CONCLUSION: Different medical specialties prefer different treatments for asymptomatic carotid stenosis. Also, younger physicians seem more conservative. We elaborate on the different reasons that could explain these findings.

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