Cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome (CHS) may occur as a severe complication following surgical treatment of carotid stenosis. However, the mechanism inducing neurological symptoms in CHS remains unknown. We describe a patient with CHS presenting with seizures 24 h following carotid endarterectomy. Imaging demonstrated early ipsilateral blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown with electroencephalographic evidence of cortical dysfunction preceding brain edema. Using in vitro experiments on rat cortical tissue, we show that direct exposure of isolated brain slices to a serum-like medium induces spontaneous epileptiform activity, and that neuronal dysfunction is triggered by albumin. We propose BBB breakdown and subsequent albumin extravasation as a novel pathogenic mechanism underlying CHS and a potential target for therapy.