Thromboendarterectomy of the symptomatic occluded internal carotid artery

J Neurosurg. 1992 May;76(5):752-8. doi: 10.3171/jns.1992.76.5.0752.


A retrospective review of 42 patients (mean age 61.4 years) with surgically managed symptomatic internal carotid artery occlusion is reported. A standardized surgical protocol aimed at restoration of flow in the vessel was used. Presenting symptoms included hemispheric transient ischemic attacks in 68% of patients, new fixed neurological deficits in 28%, amaurosis fugax in 28%, and stroke-in-evolution in 9%. Twenty-four arteries were successfully reopened. A proximal remnant angioplasty (stumpectomy) was performed alone in nine patients or in combination with an external carotid endarterectomy in nine. In four patients with persisting symptoms who failed to achieve primary restoration of flow, a superficial temporal-to-middle cerebral artery bypass procedure was performed. The permanent surgical morbidity rate was 2% and the surgical mortality rate was 0%. Transient postoperative deficits were present in three patients (7%). Follow-up review at a mean of 40 months was obtained in 39 patients (93%). Following surgical intervention, five patients died of unrelated causes, two had neurological events consistent with a transient cerebral ischemic attack, and two had vertebrobasilar insufficiency. No patient suffered from stroke. Of the 24 successfully reopened vessels, follow-up ultrasound evaluations were obtained in 17 (73%) at a mean of 28 months after surgery. In 15 patients (88%) the vessels were widely patent, one (5.8%) had stenosis greater than 70%, and one (5.8%) showed asymptomatic reocclusion. Reopening occluded internal carotid arteries in selected patients is associated with low surgical morbidity and mortality rates. Further studies are necessary to determine the impact of this surgical therapy on the natural history of this condition.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / surgery*
  • Carotid Artery Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Thrombosis / surgery*
  • Carotid Artery, Internal
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid* / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome