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What Are the Risks of Carotid Endarterectomy?

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is fairly safe when done by surgeons who have experience with it. However, serious complications, such as stroke and death, can occur.

CEA also can cause less serious complications. For example, you may have a bad reaction to the anesthesia, bleeding, or infection. Short-term nerve injury may cause numbness in your face or tongue.

Certain factors may raise your risk of having CEA complications. For example, women are at higher risk of complications than men. Other risk factors include having diabetes or other serious medical conditions. People who are older 
than 75 and have other risk factors also are at higher risk.

Talk with your doctor about the risks of CEA. He or she can help you decide whether the surgery may benefit you.

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Carotid Endarterectomy Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Carotid Endarterectomy, visit

December 01, 2010 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.