objective: to analyze the frequency and risk factors of carotid stenosis above 70% in patients undergoing abdominal aortic reconstruction. material and method: ninety-four patients who underwent doppler ultrasound preoperative screening for abdominal aortic surgery between january 2000 and january 2003 were analyzed by the vascular surgery unit of the santa casa of s？o paulo (faculty of medical sciences). results: sixty-seven (71%) patients were male. of the 94 patients, 42 (44.6%) had aortoiliac occlusive disease and 52 (53.4%) had abdominal aortic aneurysm. the data analysis showed a prevalence of carotid stenosis above 70% in 8.33% of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms and 13.51% in patients with aortoiliac occlusive disease, a difference without statistical significance (p = 0.5). the previous history of cerebral ischemic symptoms (stroke and transitory ischemic attack) was predictive of the presence of a 70-99% carotid stenosis. other risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as being male, having diabetes, hypertension and smoking history, were not predictive of the presence of a carotid stenosis above 70%. conclusion: the frequency of carotid stenosis above 70% in patients undergoing abdominal aortic surgery is 9.57% and the presence of transitory ischemic attack or stroke in medical history was predictive of stenosis above 70% in this group of patients.