Cerebral hyperperfusion after carotid endarterectomy: a cause of cerebral hemorrhage

Neurosurgery. 1984 Jul;15(1):50-6. doi: 10.1227/00006123-198407000-00010.


Correction of a very high grade carotid stenosis by endarterectomy in a normotensive man was followed by the development of severe unilateral head, eye, and face pain, seizures, and on the 6th day a fatal intracerebral hemorrhage. Autopsy revealed changes in the cerebral hemisphere ipsilateral to the endarterectomy that resembled the changes seen in malignant hypertension, whereas the opposite hemisphere was normal. These changes included hypercellularity and edema of arterial and arteriolar walls, with necrosis, extravasation of erythrocytes, and exudation of fibrin. We propose that the clinical and pathological features in this case were due to relative hyperperfusion of a cerebral hemisphere in which autoregulation had been impaired because of preoperative chronic hypoperfusion with chronic maximal dilatation of its blood vessels. This state of relative hyperperfusion is probably similar to the normal perfusion pressure breakthrough that occasionally occurs after the resection of cerebral arteriovenous malformations. It is similar to the breakthrough perfusion that occurs in severely hypertensive patients and results in hypertensive encephalopathy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Arterioles / pathology
  • Blood Pressure
  • Brain / pathology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / surgery*
  • Cerebral Arteries / pathology
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Endarterectomy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / pathology