OBJECTIVE: Patients 80 years and older are generally considered to be at an increased risk for stroke and death from carotid endarterectomy. High-risk status often qualifies them for entry into a carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS) trial. The aim of this study is to report periprocedure (0-30 d) morbidity and mortality among elderly patients undergoing CAS with and without distal embolic protection in an intention-to-treat analysis. METHODS: A retrospective review was performed to evaluate the medical records and imaging studies of patients 80 years or older who underwent attempted CAS procedures with and without distal embolic protection between June 1996 and February 2004. RESULTS: Ages of the 75 patients identified in our review ranged from 80 to 91 years (average 83.1 yr); 41 were men. Internal carotid artery stenosis ranged from 60 to 95% (mean 78.3%). Forty-two patients had symptoms (transient ischemic attack, 29; stroke, 13), and 33 patients were asymptomatic. Total event rates were major stroke, 4% (3 patients); minor stroke, 6.7% (5 patients); death, 4% (3 patients). Rates in the unprotected group (35 patients) were major stroke, 8.6% (3 patients); minor stroke, 5.7% (2 patients); major stroke/death, 14.3% (5 patients). Rates in the protected group (40 patients) were major stroke, 0; minor stroke, 7.5% (3 patients); major stroke/death, 0; (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: These results suggest that elderly patients undergoing CAS with adjunctive distal embolic protection are at a lower risk of periprocedure adverse events. Routine clopidogrel use, smaller hardware profile, patient selection, and increased experience likely contributed to these results. Copyright © Congress of Neurological Surgeons.