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The Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery 2021 August;62(4):347-53

DOI: 10.23736/S0021-9509.21.11767-7


language: English

To drain or not to drain following carotid endarterectomy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Nicola RIVOLTA 1, Gabriele PIFFARETTI 1 , Claudio CORAZZARI 1, Ruth L. BUSH 2, Walter DORIGO 3, Matteo TOZZI 1, Marco FRANCHIN 1

1 Unit of Vascular Surgery and Cardiac Surgery, Department of Medicine and Surgery, Universitary Teaching Hospital, ASST Settelaghi, University of Insubria School of Medicine, Varese, Italy; 2 University of Houston College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA; 3 Unit of Vascular Surgery, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Careggi University Teaching Hospital, University of Florence School of Medicine, Florence, Italy

INTRODUCTION: A postoperative neck hematoma can be a life-threatening complication after carotid endarterectomy necessitating urgent surgical decompression to avoid airway compromise. The practice of routine incisional drain placement is variable with few published studies evaluating the “to drain versus not to drain” approach. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the safety and efficacy of neck drain placement for prevention of neck hematoma requiring re-exploration for decompression.
EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: This study is a systematic review and meta-analysis performed using Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Pooled odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals were calculated for the outcome of surgical re-exploration for neck decompression among patients receiving or not receiving wound drainage.
EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: We identified 5 studies for inclusion, comprising 48,297 patients with 19,832 (41.1%) patients receiving a drain after carotid endarterectomy. Patients in the drain group had a significantly higher re-exploration rate after carotid endarterectomy compared to those who did not receive a drainage (OR=1.24, 95% CI: 1.03-1.49; P=0.02) with no heterogeneity (I2=0%).
CONCLUSIONS: Routine drain placement does not offer complete protection against neck hematoma development and may give the surgeon a false sense of security in wound drainage. Thus, we conclude that drain placement following carotid endarterectomy should be selective, not routine.

KEY WORDS: Endarterectomy, carotid; Drainage; Hematoma; Drainage; Neck

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