PURPOSE To determine the incidence of particulate embolization after carotid endarterectomy (CEA), the effect of dextran-40 infusion in patients with sustained postoperative embolization, and the impact of transcranial Doppler (TCD) monitoring plus adjuvant dextran therapy on the rate of postoperative carotid thrombosis. METHODS Prospective study in 100 patients who underwent CEA with 6-hour postoperative monitoring using a TCD that was modified to allow automatic, intermittent recording from the ipsilateral middle cerebral artery waveform (10 minute sample every 30 minutes). An incremental dextran-40 infusion was commenced if 25 or more emboli were detected in any 10-minute period. RESULTS Overall, 48% of patients had one or more emboli detected in the postoperative period, particularly in the first 2 hours. However, sustained embolization that required Dextran therapy developed in only five patients. In each case, the rate of embolization rapidly diminished. CONCLUSIONS A small proportion of patients have sustained embolization after CEA, which in previous studies has been shown to be highly predictive of thrombotic stroke. Intervention with dextran reduced and subsequently stopped all the emboli in those in whom it was used and contributed to a 0% perioperative morbidity and mortality rate in this series.