Ipsilateral blindness: a complication of carotid endarterectomy

Arch Surg. 1977 Aug;112(8):928-32. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.1977.01370080026003.


We report on three patients in whom ipsilateral blindness developed following carotid endarterectomy. Fundoscopic examination of the retina documented ischemia and the visual field defects were permanent. In one patient, the internal carotid artery was patent and thought to be the conduit for embolization to the eye. Two patients had chronic occlusion of the internal carotid artery, and blindness resulted from atheromatous emboli to the eye through the external carotid artery in one and from postoperative thrombosis of the external cartoid artery in the other. Our experience calls attention to this infrequently reported complication of carotid endarterectomy and emphasizes the importance of the external carotid artery, especially when the internal carotid artery is occluded.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arteriosclerosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Arteriosclerosis / surgery*
  • Blindness / etiology*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / surgery*
  • Carotid Artery Thrombosis / complications*
  • Carotid Artery Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, External / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / diagnostic imaging
  • Embolism / complications*
  • Endarterectomy / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmoscopy
  • Optic Disk
  • Radiography