BACKGROUND: Carotid-artery stenting and carotid endarterectomy are both options for treating carotid-artery stenosis, an important cause of stroke. METHODS: We randomly assigned patients with symptomatic or asymptomatic carotid stenosis to undergo carotid-artery stenting or carotid endarterectomy. The primary composite end point was stroke, myocardial infarction, or death from any cause during the periprocedural period or any ipsilateral stroke within 4 years after randomization. RESULTS: For 2502 patients over a median follow-up period of 2.5 years, there was no significant difference in the estimated 4-year rates of the primary end point between the stenting group and the endarterectomy group (7.2% and 6.8%, respectively; hazard ratio with stenting, 1.11; 95% confidence interval, 0.81 to 1.51; P = 0.51). There was no differential treatment effect with regard to the primary end point according to symptomatic status (P = 0.84) or sex (P = 0.34). The 4-year rate of stroke or death was 6.4% with stenting and 4.7% with endarterectomy (hazard ratio, 1.50; P = 0.03); the rates among symptomatic patients were 8.0% and 6.4% (hazard ratio, 1.37; P = 0.14), and the rates among asymptomatic patients were 4.5% and 2.7% (hazard ratio, 1.86; P = 0.07), respectively. Periprocedural rates of individual components of the end points differed between the stenting group and the endarterectomy group: for death (0.7% vs. 0.3%, P = 0.18), for stroke (4.1% vs. 2.3%, P = 0.01), and for myocardial infarction (1.1% vs. 2.3%, P = 0.03). After this period, the incidences of ipsilateral stroke with stenting and with endarterectomy were similarly low (2.0% and 2.4%, respectively; P = 0.85). CONCLUSIONS: Among patients with symptomatic or asymptomatic carotid stenosis, the risk of the composite primary outcome of stroke, myocardial infarction, or death did not differ significantly in the group undergoing carotid-artery stenting and the group undergoing carotid endarterectomy. During the periprocedural period, there was a higher risk of stroke with stenting and a higher risk of myocardial infarction with endarterectomy. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00004732.). Copyright © 2010 Massachusetts Medical Society.