AIM The risk for developing stroke increases with the advancing age, peaking over age 80. In elderly patients, carotid endarterectomy may provide prophylaxis against stroke. Aim of our study was to compare patients 80 years or older with patients younger than 80 undergoing carotid endarterectomy. Endpoints were perioperative mortality and morbidity. METHODS From January 1996 to December 2002, 1 659 patients underwent a 1 733 carotid endarterectomy for a symptomatic or asymptomatic significant carotid lesion. Among them, 125 patients were 80 years or older. We analyzed death and stroke rate from cerebrovascular accidents, TIA as well as non cerebrovascular complications and death rate postoperatively and in the long term follow-up. The Pearson's chi-squared(2) test was used for the statistical analysis on risk factors, morbidity and mortality. The Log rank test was used for cumulative stroke-free and survival rates between the 2 groups (level of confidence p<0.05). RESULTS Risk factors were similar in both groups. No statistical difference was observed in the stroke, TIA, mortality and stroke free rates between the 2 groups. CONCLUSIONS The results of our study show that perioperative and postoperative mortality and morbidity as well as the long-term stroke-free rate does not differ significantly in patients 80 years or older compared to patients younger than 80 undergoing carotid endarterectomy.