Intracranial hemorrhage after carotid endarterectomy

J Vasc Surg. 1988 Feb;7(2):248-55.


Among 1500 carotid endarterectomies performed between 1975 and 1984, 11 ipsilateral intracranial hemorrhages (IH) occurred between the first and tenth postoperative days for an incidence of 0.7%. The mortality rate among these patients was 36%. The only recognizable predisposing factor was relief of high-grade carotid stenosis (greater than 90%) whereas other factors such as age (58 to 81 years), preoperative hypertension (systolic blood pressure 120 to 160 mm Hg), preoperative head CT scans showing recent infarction (only one in five positive), and preoperative cerebral infarction (only 1 of 11 patients) did not play a role. All patients had normal coagulation studies. No patient required a shunt because all tolerated cross-clamping of the carotid artery. Postoperative systolic blood pressures were 200 to 240 mm Hg in 6 of 11 patients. The time of occurrence of IH extended from the immediate postoperative period to the tenth postoperative day (mean interval 3.3 days). Treatment consisted of craniotomy in five patients; four survived and one recovered completely. Of the six patients treated nonoperatively, three survived and two completely recovered. IH shares equal incidence with recurrent thrombosis, cross-clamping ischemia, and embolization as a cause of perioperative stroke. Although all except IH can be prevented by current practice, the means of preventing IH are not apparent; however, careful monitoring of blood pressure to prevent uncontrolled hypertension deserves consideration.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Coagulation Tests
  • Blood Pressure
  • Carotid Arteries / surgery*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / complications
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / surgery
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Endarterectomy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors