Survey of Current Management Practices for Carotid Webs

Ochsner J. 2019 Winter;19(4):296-302. doi: 10.31486/toj.18.0114.


Background: Carotid webs are thick, fibrous intimal bands that appear as intraluminal shelf-like defects at the carotid bifurcation on vascular imaging. These lesions are a potential underrecognized cause of cryptogenic ischemic stroke. Although the recognition of carotid webs has increased, no evidence-based treatment guidelines are available. We surveyed subspecialists across multiple neurologic disciplines to assess the state of current clinical practice. Methods: An 8-question multiple-choice style survey of neurologists and radiologists assessed familiarity with this disease entity, preferred imaging modalities, and management strategies for asymptomatic and symptomatic (producing stroke) carotid webs. Responses were collected through SurveyMonkey software via anonymous responses to a posted survey link on the Society of Neurointerventional Surgery website in addition to invitation emails sent to colleagues in corresponding fields. Results: Of the 74 total respondents, 64% identified as neurointerventionalists. Respondents identified computed tomography angiography as the most commonly used imaging modality to place carotid webs in the differential diagnosis (57% of respondents' preference), while conventional digital subtraction angiogram was the preferred modality to confirm a web (54% of respondents' preference). Respondents preferred single and dual antiplatelet therapy to manage asymptomatic and acute stroke-producing carotid webs, while invasive treatment was most commonly sought for webs producing recurrent strokes. Conclusion: Familiarity with carotid webs varied across subspecialties. We found some consensus among respondents on the imaging modality preferred to identify webs, on asymptomatic carotid web management, and on recurrently symptomatic (multiple strokes) carotid web management. Less consistency was seen regarding preferences for confirmatory imaging and management of acutely symptomatic (initial stroke) carotid webs.

Keywords: Angiography–digital subtraction; carotid artery diseases; carotid artery–internal; cerebral angiography; diagnostic imaging; magnetic resonance spectroscopy; stroke; tomography–x-ray computed.