J. Stephane Sauve, MD; Kevin E. Thorpe, MMath; David L. Sackett, MD; Wayne Taylor, MA; Henry J. M. Barnett, MD; R. Brian Haynes, MD, PhD; Allan J. Fox, MD
To determine whether cervical bruits, alone or combined with other clinical characteristics, can distinguish high-grade (70% to 99%) carotid artery stenoses from less severe stenoses in patients with symptoms of cerebrovascular disease.
Cross-sectional comparison of clinical observations with contemporaneous angiography.
The North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial (NASCET), a multicenter randomized, controlled trial of carotid endarterectomy.
All patients enrolled in the NASCET from its inception in 1988 to November 1991.
A focal ipsilateral carotid bruit had a sensitivity of 63% and a specificity of 61% for high-grade stenosis and, when absent, only lowered the probability for high-grade stenosis from a pretest value of 52% to a post-test probability of 40%. When combined with four other clinical characteristics (an infarction on computed tomography of the head, a carotid ultrasound scan suggesting more than 90% stenosis, a transient ischemic attack rather than a minor stroke as a qualifying event, and a retinal rather than a hemispheric qualifying event), the predicted probabilities of high-grade stenosis ranged from a low of 18% (when none of the features was present) to a high of 94% (when all the features were present).
Cervical bruits alone were not sufficiently predictive of high-grade symptomatic carotid stenosis to be useful in selecting patients for angiography; they were absent in over one third of patients with high-grade stenosis. When combined with other clinical variables, patients with high or low probabilities of 70% to 99% stenoses could be identified, but this prediction model still missed many individuals with high-grade stenosis, even in this training set of selected patients.
J. Stephane Sauve, Kevin E. Thorpe, David L. Sackett, Wayne Taylor, Henry J. M. Barnett, R. Brian Haynes, et al. Can Bruits Distinguish High-Grade from Moderate Symptomatic Carotid Stenosis?. Ann Intern Med. 1994;120:633–637. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-120-8-199404150-00002
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1994;120(8):633-637.
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