A series of 13 cases with unplanned carotid rupture is summarized. Time from surgery and radiation to rupture, survival time after rupture, and whether tumor is present or not at death is given. The longest survivor lived one year and eight months after rupture and was one of three patients without known tumor at death.
Long-term planning for care in the head and neck tumor patient should include the patient and family. Decisions should be made objectively by all rather than during acute care crises. Occasionally a decision not to treat a pending or actual carotid rupture may be the patient's choice.