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Open Access Study protocol

Optimal cut-off criteria for duplex ultrasound for the diagnosis of restenosis in stented carotid arteries: Review and protocol for a diagnostic study

Paul J Nederkoorn1* and Martin M Brown2

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 UCL Institute of Neurology, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London, UK

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BMC Neurology 2009, 9:36  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-36

Published: 22 July 2009

Abstract

Background

Carotid angioplasty with stenting is a relatively new, increasingly used, less-invasive treatment for the treatment of symptomatic carotid artery stenosis. It is being evaluated in ongoing and nearly finished randomized trials. An important factor in the evaluation of stents is the occurrence of in-stent restenosis. An un-stented carotid artery is likely to have a more elastic vessel wall than a stented one, even if stenosis is present. Therefore, duplex ultrasound cut-off criteria for the degrees of an in-stent stenosis, based on blood velocity parameters, are probably different from the established cut-offs used for un-stented arteries. Routine criteria can not be applied to stented arteries but new criteria need to be established for this particular purpose.

Methods/Design

Current literature was systematically reviewed. From the selected studies, the following data were extracted: publication year, population size, whether the study was prospective, duplex ultrasound cut-off criteria reported, which reference test was used, and if there was an indication for selection bias and for verification bias in particular. Previous studies often were retrospective, or the reference test (DSA or CTA) was carried out only when a patient was suspected of having restenosis at DUS, which may result in verification bias.

Results

In general, the velocity cut-off values for stenosis measurements in stented arteries were higher than those reported for unstented arteries. Previous studies often were retrospective, or the reference test (DSA or CTA) was carried out only when a patient was suspected of having restenosis at DUS, which may result in verification bias.

Discussion

To address the deficiencies of the existing studies, we propose a prospective cohort study nested within the International Carotid Stenting Study (ICSS), an international multi-centre trial in which over 1,700 patients have been randomised between stenting and CEA. In this cohort we will enrol a minimum of 300 patients treated with a stent. All patients undergo regular DUS examination at the yearly follow-up visit according to the ICSS protocol. To avoid verification bias, an additional computed tomography angiography (CTA) will be performed as a reference test in all consecutive patients, regardless of the degree of stenosis on the initial DUS test.