Purpose: Due to high thrombus load, acute stroke patients with tandem obstructions of the extra- and intracranial carotid arteries or the middle cerebral artery show a very limited response to systemic thrombolysis. Interventional treatment with mechanical thrombectomy-often in combination with acute stenting of underlying atherosclerotic stenosis or dissection-is increasingly used. It has been shown that such complex interventions are technically feasible. The lack of optimal management strategies and clinical data encouraged us to review our acute stroke interventions in patient with anterior circulation tandem lesions to determine lesion patterns, interventional approaches, and angiographic or clinical outcomes.
Patients and methods: We retrospectively analyzed a series of 39 consecutive patients with intracranial vessel occlusion of the anterior circulation simultaneously presenting with high-grade cervical internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis or occlusion.
Results: Emergency ICA stent implantation was technically feasible in all patients, and intracranial recanalization with TICI ≥ 2b was reached in a large number of patients (64 %). Good clinical outcomes (mRS ≤ 2 at 3 months) were achieved in one third of the patients (36 %). Symptomatic hemorrhages occurred in four patients (10 %). Mortality was 10 %.
Conclusion: Endovascular recanalization of acute cervical carotid artery occlusion was technically feasible in all patients, and resulted in high extra- and intracranial revascularization rates. A trend for favorable clinical outcome was seen in a higher TICI score, younger age, good collateral status, and combined IV rTPA and endovascular therapy.