Carotid occlusive disease has been related to ischaemic strokes and cerebral hypoperfusion, thus affecting patients’ quality of life, mainly because of cognitive decline and depressive symptoms. Carotid revascularization techniques [carotid endarterectomy (CEA) and carotid artery stenting (CAS)] may, postoperatively, have a positive impact on patients’ quality of life and mental condition, though there have been also presented elusive findings and controversial results. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the effect of carotid revascularization (CEA, CAS) on patients’ psychological condition and quality of life through a baseline and follow-up examination. We present data of a group of 35 patients (age range:60-80 years, ΜA=70,26-SD=9,05) with severe, left or right, carotid artery stenosis (>75%), presented with or without symptoms, who underwent surgical treatment with CEA or CAS. Baseline and follow-up (6 months post-surgery) evaluation was conducted in order to assess patients’ depressive symptoms and quality of life, through completion of the Beck Depression Inventory and WHOQOL-BREF Inventory, respectively. No statistically significant (p < 0,05) effect of the revascularization process on mood or quality of life assessment could be documented for our patients, regardless of the applied technique (CAS or CEA). Our study supports existing evidence that all of the traditional vascular risk factors represent active participants in the inflammatory process, which has also been implicated in the pathophysiology of depression as well as in pathogenesis of atherosclerotic processes. Thus we have to illuminate new links between the two nosological entities, in the crossroads of psychiatry, neurology and angiology, through the pathways of inflammatory reactions and endothelium dysfunctions. Even though the effects of carotid revascularization on patient’s mood and quality of life, are often characterized by opposing results, pathophysiological processes of “vascular depression” and “post stroke depression” remain a promising interdisciplinary medical domain, sharing both scientific and clinical interests between the fields of neurosciences and vascular medicine. Our results, regarding the bilateral connection of depression and carotid artery disease, advocate a most probable causality link between atherosclerotic process and depressive symptoms, rather than justifying a direct association between depressive disorders and carotid stenosis and inferred cerebral blood flow reduction per se.

KEYWORDS: Carotid artery stenosis, carotid endarterectomy, carotid stenting, carotid revascularization, depression, quality of life.

Christos C Liapis, Despina Perrea, Maria Ginieri-Coccossis, Foteini Christidis, Ioannis Zalonis, Christos D Liapis


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