Background: The sequelae of blunt injury to the carotid arteries are unusual, but pseudoaneurysms causing subsequent strokes are devastating. The utility of treatment of these pseudoaneurysms was examined.
Methods: All patients at a Level I trauma center with previously documented traumatic risk factors were assessed for blunt injury to the carotid arteries and, when a pseudoaneurysm was present, a self-expanding metallic stent was placed across the lesion and the patient placed on anticoagulation. Follow-up arteriograms were obtained in 2 months and every 6 months thereafter.
Results: Fourteen patients (7 men, 7 women) with an average age of 27 years, an Injury Severity Score of 38, had formed pseudoaneurysms in 16 extracranial internal carotid arteries. These were stented with metallic endoprostheses. No strokes occurred after the placement of the stents. Mean follow-up period has been 2.5 years.
Conclusions: Use of metallic endoprostheses is an effective method to treat this potentially devastating injury. However, longer follow-up and more patients studied are needed to further examine this promising treatment.