Objective/hypothesis: To determine the value of preoperative balloon occlusion in predicting the safety of carotid artery resection in advanced recurrent head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Study design: Retrospective chart review of all cases undergoing planned carotid artery resection for recurrent disease at a major university hospital.
Methods: If the carotid artery was encased, a nonemergent carotid artery balloon test occlusion was performed for 30 minutes. If the patient tolerated this, he or she underwent permanent carotid artery occlusion.
Results: Twenty-three patients were prospectively evaluated for resection. Three underwent emergent carotid artery ligation. Twenty others underwent nonemergent carotid artery test occlusion. Of these, 5 patients failed preoperative carotid artery balloon occlusion and 15 patients successfully underwent permanent carotid balloon occlusion. Although eight of these patients died of recurrent disease in less than 1 year, seven patients survived more than 1 year with two patients surviving more than 2 years.
Conclusions: Preoperative carotid balloon occlusion predicted patients who could tolerate permanent occlusion. All patients eventually developed recurrent disease, but in 14 of the 15 patients, no hemorrhages occurred.