Carotid artery endarterectomy: a multidisciplinary approach to improving resource utilization and quality assurance.

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Journal of vascular nursing : official publication of the Society for Peripheral Vascular Nursing

MeSH Headings

Carotid Stenosis, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Endarterectomy, Carotid, Health Resources, Humans, Interdisciplinary Communication, Nursing Audit, Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care, Quality Assurance, Health Care, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Stroke, Time Factors, Washington


An estimated 780,000 people in the United States have a stroke each year. Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is the most frequently performed surgical procedure to prevent the occurrence of stroke. Over the past several years, physicians, nurses, and allied healthcare workers have been challenged to perform this operation in a cost-effective manner without compromising clinical outcomes. At Maine Medical Center (MMC), Portland, Maine, an average of 250 CEAs are performed annually. As part of a quality-assurance initiative, MMC key stakeholders redesigned the care of patients undergoing CEA surgery. A critical pathway supported by a computerized order set was implemented; standardized discharge instructions and a patient teaching brochure were developed. A patient flow algorithm allowing select patients to bypass the intermediate care unit and transfer directly from the post-anesthesia care unit to a non-telemetry surgical bed was instituted. From January 1, 2010, to December 31, 2011, 467 chart audits were completed on 100% of CEA surgeries (cases with concomitant procedures excluded) using the Vascular Study Group of New England data collection form. Data analyzed supports the practice changes that were instituted. Allowing patients to be admitted to a non-telemetry surgical unit following CEA has resulted in significant cost savings and increased the availability of intermediate care beds to higher acuity patients without negatively affecting patient outcomes.



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