Object: A canine model of hemorrhagic vasospasm of the high cervical internal carotid artery (ICA) was used to study the long-term effects of transluminal balloon angioplasty (TBA) on the structure and function of the arterial wall.
Methods: Forty dogs underwent surgical exposure of both distal cervical ICAs, followed by baseline angiographic studies on Day 0. Dogs in Group A (20 animals) underwent simple exposure of one ICA and placement of a silicone elastomer cuff around a segment of the opposite artery. These animals underwent repeated angiography on Day 7, and then TBA was performed on the uncuffed ICA; the cuff was removed from the opposite vessel. For dogs in Group B (20 animals), blood clot-filled cuffs were placed around both ICAs, and on Day 7 angiography was repeated and TBA was performed on one randomly selected ICA. Four animals were then killed from each group, and in the remaining animals the cuffs were removed from both ICAs. On Days 14, 21, 28, and 56, four animals from each group underwent repeated angiography and were then killed to permit pharmacological and morphological analyses of the ICAs. This protocol yielded five study categories: cuffed nonblood-coated arteries not subjected to TBA, blood-coated arteries not subjected to TBA, blood-coated arteries subjected to TBA, normal arteries subjected to TBA, and control arteries obtained from the proximal ICA in each animal. The contractile responses of isolated arterial rings obtained from each ICA were recorded after treatment with potassium chloride, noradrenaline, and serotonin, whereas relaxations in response to the calcium ionophore A23187 and papaverine were recorded after tonic contraction to noradrenaline had been established. Morphological analysis was performed using scanning electron microscopy. Arteries surrounded by an empty cuff exhibited no angiographic, pharmacological, or morphological differences compared with normal arteries on any study day. Arteries surrounded by blood developed angiographically confirmed vasospasm on Day 7, with characteristic pharmacological and morphological features; resolution of these symptoms occurred by Day 21. Vasospastic arteries subjected to TBA on Day 7 remained dilated on angiographic studies, exhibited impaired responses to pharmacological agents (except for papaverine), and showed altered morphological features until Day 28. Normal arteries subjected to TBA on Day 7 remained dilated on angiographic studies, exhibited impaired responses to pharmacological agents (except for papaverine), and displayed altered morphological features until Day 14.
Conclusions: These results indicate that the canine high cervical ICA model produces consistent and reproducible vasospasm that follows a similar time course to that seen in humans. When TBA is performed in vasospastic arteries, it results in an immediate functional impairment of vascular smooth muscle that lasts for 2 weeks, with resolution at 3 weeks; morphological changes are mostly resolved 3 weeks post-TBA. In normal vessels, TBA causes functional impairment and morphological alterations that are not as severe or as long-lasting as those seen in vasospastic arteries.