Carotid endarterectomy, was first performed in 1951 and has since become one of the most commonly recommended operations. However, it has recently come under scrutiny for being performed too frequently for the wrong indications and at too high a risk for the patient. This article will cover pertinent anatomy and physiology of cerebral blood flow, symptoms of carotid circulation ischemia, indications for surgery along with the expected risks and benefits, and the role neuroscience nurses play in the care of these patients. In order to assist neuroscience nurses in ethical desicion making regarding patient advocacy, several controversies surrounding carotid endarterectomy will be addressed.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to the author at: Department of Neurosurgery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905. She is an instructor of neurosurgery, an associate in the department of neurosurgery and a nurse physician assistant.
© 1990 American Association of Neuroscience Nurses