Cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome after carotid intervention: a review

Cardiol Rev. Mar-Apr 2012;20(2):84-9. doi: 10.1097/CRD.0b013e318237eef8.


Cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome (CHS) after carotid surgery, although rare, is a well-described phenomenon. Although originally described after carotid endarterectomy, it has now also been described after carotid artery stenting. It is classically described as an acute neurologic deficit occurring several days after a carotid procedure, associated with severe hypertension and preceded by a severe headache. CHS represents a spectrum of clinical symptoms ranging from severe unilateral headache, to seizures and focal neurologic defects, to intracerebral hemorrhage in its most severe form. The exact mechanism leading to CHS is unknown; however, it seems to be related to increased regional cerebral blood flow secondary to loss of cerebrovascular autoregulation. Given the significant morbidity associated with CHS, researchers have been trying to identify which patients are most at risk. This is a difficult task given the rarity of the disease and the multiple confounding factors in the patient population who undergo carotid intervention. The goal was to determine those patients most at risk preoperatively, so that they may be more closely monitored postoperatively to prevent the development of CHS and its associated morbidity. The purpose of this review was to summarize the data currently available in the literature on CHS, with emphasis on pathophysiology, risk factor assessment, diagnostic modalities, and disease management, to provide insight for future research to better elucidate how to reduce the morbidity and mortality caused by CHS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Brain Ischemia / etiology*
  • Brain Ischemia / therapy
  • Carotid Stenosis / complications
  • Carotid Stenosis / physiopathology
  • Carotid Stenosis / surgery*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology
  • Endarterectomy, Carotid
  • Headache Disorders / etiology
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnosis
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / therapy
  • Reperfusion Injury / etiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Seizures / complications
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Seizures / surgery*
  • Stents
  • Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome