Like all surgeries, carotid endarterectomy has risks. Between 2% and 6% of patients will have a stroke within 30 days of the surgery,6 and 2% of women will die within 30 days (compared with 1% of men).4 The risk of these complications is higher in people who have had a TIA or stroke in the past and those who have other stroke risk factors. However, these are also the people who stand to benefit most from the procedure.
Women tend to have a higher risk of dying or having a stroke during a carotid endarterectomy than men. This is probably because of their smaller body size and smaller carotid arteries.8, 9 Women who may benefit from the procedure should not be denied it because of their sex, but should discuss their options with their doctor and carefully consider the risks of the procedure.
Other possible complications include developing high blood pressure (which may occur in up to 20% of patients) and re-narrowing of the artery (5% to 10% of patients).6 Rarely, wound infection, bleeding, heart attack, or temporary nerve injury in the head can occur.