Background: Acute cervical carotid artery occlusion presents with a severe neurological deficit and is associated with unfavorable outcomes. In this study, the authors report their experience with patients having had acute ischemic stroke due to cervical carotid occlusion, who underwent endovascular intervention.
Method: Sixteen acute cervical carotid occlusion patients (15 males and 1 female; mean age 67.7 years) were treated by endovascularly between January 2009 and November 2012. Clinical, procedural, and angiographic data were retrospectively evaluated. Successful intracranial recanalization was based on thrombolysis in cerebral infarction score of 2B-3. A favorable outcome was defined as a modified Rankin Scale score of 0-2 at 90 days.
Findings: The average score of National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale before treatment was 15.9. Ten of 16 patients (63 %) were associated with intracranial tandem occlusion. Ten (63 %) cases were caused by atherosclerotic, 4 (25 %) by atrial fibrillation (AF), and 2 (13 %) by dissection. Thirteen of 16 (81 %) achieved successful cervical recanalization and 7 of 16 (44 %) patients obtained sufficient cervical and intracranial perfusion. As a result, 5 of 16 (31 %) patients demonstrated favorable outcomes. Five of seven patients (71 %) with successful cervical and intracranial recanalization presented favorable outcomes. In contrast, none of the patients without cervical or intracranial recanalization presented favorable outcomes. Three of 6 (50 %) patients initially without intracranial occlusion showed favorable outcomes, but only 2 of 10 (20 %) patients associated with intracranial occlusion had favorable outcomes. On the aspect of etiology, in atherosclerotic cases, 4 of 10 (40 %) showed favorable outcomes. However, all four AF cases deteriorated into poor outcomes.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated the feasibility of endovascular intervention for acute cervical carotid artery occlusion. Although treatment for tandem occlusion and AF cases is an issue that should be resolved, intervention must be encouraged. Successful cervical and intracranial revascularization will be essential for favorable outcomes.