BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The Asymptomatic Carotid Atherosclerosis Study (ACAS) established the effectiveness of prophylactic carotid endarterectomy, for patients in good health who had stenosis >/=60%, if conducted by surgeons with a surgical morbidity and mortality of <3%. This secondary analysis was performed to determine whether the presence of contralateral cervical carotid occlusion alters the efficacy of asymptomatic ipsilateral carotid endarterectomy. METHODS: One hundred sixty-three participants who had a baseline contralateral occlusion documented by Doppler ultrasound (77 medical, 86 surgical) were compared with 1485 participants with a patent contralateral carotid artery (748 medical, 737 surgical) for the risk of a combined end point of perioperative (30-day) death or stroke or long-term (5-year) ipsilateral stroke. RESULTS: For those without contralateral occlusion, surgery was associated with a 6.7% absolute reduction in the 5-year risk (95% CI, 2.1% to 11.4%), while for those with a contralateral occlusion, surgery was associated with a 2.0% absolute increase in risk (95% CI, -9.3% to 5.2%), which was a statistically significant difference in the effect of surgery (P:=0.047). This difference is primarily attributable to low long-term risk for medically managed patients with contralateral occlusion. CONCLUSIONS: While this post hoc analysis should be interpreted with caution, the findings suggest that endarterectomy in asymptomatic subjects with contralateral occlusion provides no long-term benefit (and may be harmful) in preventing stroke and death. These findings were a result of the benign course of medically treated subjects.