Carotid endarterectomy (CEA) is a surgical procedure to remove atherosclerotic plaque from the inside of one of the carotid arteries. The aim is to prevent a future cerebral ischemic attack. Besides this medical purpose, patients are expected to improve in mental functioning and have an increased quality of life (QoL). Twenty-two patients with severe stenosis of the carotid artery but without long-lasting neurological symptoms were questioned about their QoL several weeks before and three months after CEA. Measurements included the RAND 36-item Health Survey and the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire. In addition, the Profile of Mood States was administered to evaluate current mood. CEA patients were compared to patients undergoing peripheral vascular surgery (of one of their legs) of similar duration and anaesthesia. Before surgery both CEA patients and comparison patients showed worse QoL compared to norms. Three months after surgery the two groups improved on several QoL variables. Improvements on physically related scales were noticed to be larger for the control patients, as was expected. There was no surgical effect on reported everyday cognitive failures. Furthermore, all patients were less fatigued, less angry, and less tense three months after surgery, but these reductions could already be observed one day before surgery. The findings support the view that both CEA and peripheral vascular surgery increase QoL
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