Background and purpose: Syncope and carotid sinus reactions (CSR) occur frequently in patients undergoing carotid angioplasty (CA). We investigated risk factors and the neurological consequences of carotid sinus syncope induced by CA.
Methods: We examined 359 consecutive patients. Patients underwent assessment of cerebrovascular reserve before CA and continuous electroencephalographical monitoring during the procedure. We examined the impact of vascular risk factors, cerebral hemodynamics, characteristics of plaque, and procedural modality on the incidence of CSR and syncope. The effect of syncopes on periprocedural complication rates was also investigated.
Results: CSR and syncope occurred in 62.7% and 18.0% of the procedures, respectively. The occurrence of CSR during angioplasty was significantly associated with the appearance of syncope. The incidence of syncope was significantly higher in longer plaques located in the carotid bifurcation, in the presence of contralateral carotid stenosis, or when protection devices were used. Although TIA during CA was more common in syncopal patients, stroke or death rates were similar in the 2 groups.
Conclusions: Syncope occurs more frequently in patients with long plaques proximal to the carotid bifurcation, but it does not increase the periprocedural complications rate.