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Background and Purpose: Three different methods for estimating the percentage of reduction in the diameter of the internal carotid artery (ie, stenosis) have been proposed in the literature. Further comparisons of the methods were carried out with the intent of recommending a current standard for determining the percentage of stenosis from angiograms.

Methods: Angiograms from 112 patients were obtained. For each angiogram, stenosis was estimated in the manner of the European Carotid Surgery Trial (ECST method), the North American Symptomatic Carotid Endarterectomy Trial (NASCET method), and by a method using the common carotid artery lumen diameter (CC method).

Results: Although there is much discrepancy among the estimates of stenosis arising from the three different methods for any particular patient, it is possible to predict (on average) the percentage of stenosis from one method to another. The relationship between the NASCET and CC methods is linear, with a mean ratio of distal internal carotid artery to common carotid diameter of 0.62 (SD of 0.11). The variability in the diameter of the common carotid artery lumen stabilizes only beyond 2.5 common carotid diameter units (approximately 20 to 30 mm by conventional angiography) proximal to the bifurcation. Unexpectedly, the relationships between both the ECST and NASCET methods and ECST and CC methods were parabolic (P<.001). The reasons underlying these departures from linearity are uncertain.

Conclusions: The comparability of our results with those reported in the literature regarding the CC and NASCET methods provides further evidence of the reproducibility of methods measuring anatomic features that can be visualized on an angiogram. Disease of the internal carotid artery is one of the important causes of ischemic symptoms. Measuring the narrowest portion of the internal artery relative to the normal portion of the same artery, well beyond the bulb, is a logical method. Moreover, benefits of carotid endarterectomy for patients with 70% to 99% stenosis as determined by the NASCET method have been well established in a clinical trial. Converting from the NASCET method to the CC method, given that the CC method is neither superior nor easier to calculate, is not recommended.

(C) 1994 American Heart Association, Inc.