Residual High-Grade Stenosis After Recanalization of Extracranial Carotid Occlusion in Acute Ischemic Stroke

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Background and Purpose—

Residual stenosis after recanalization of an acute symptomatic extracranial occlusion of the internal carotid artery (ICA) might be an indication for carotid endarterectomy. We evaluated the proportion of residual high-grade stenosis (≥70%, near occlusions not included) on follow-up imaging in a consecutive series of patients with an acute symptomatic occlusion of the extracranial ICA.


We included patients participating in the Dutch Acute Stroke Study (DUST), who had an acute symptomatic occlusion of the extracranial ICA that was diagnosed on computed tomographic angiography within 9 hours after onset of neurological symptoms. Follow-up imaging of the carotid artery had to be available within 7 days after admission.


Of the 1021 patients participating in DUST between May 2009 and May 2013, an acute symptomatic occlusion of the extracranial ICA was found in 126 (12.3%) patients. Follow-up imaging was available in 86 (68.3%) of these patients. At follow-up, a residual stenosis of <30% was found in 15 (17.4%; 95% confidence interval, 10.8–26.9) patients, a 30% to 49% stenosis in 3 (3.5%; 95% confidence interval, 0.8–10.2) patients, a 50% to 69% stenosis in 2 (2.3%; 95% confidence interval, 0.1–8.6) patients, and a ≥70% stenosis in 14 (16.3%; 95% confidence interval, 9.8–25.6) patients. A near or persistent occlusion was present in the remaining 52 (60.5%) patients.


A residual high-grade stenosis of the extracranial ICA occurs in 1 of 6 patients with a symptomatic occlusion in the acute stage of cerebral ischemia. Because this may have implications for secondary prevention, we recommend follow-up imaging in these patients within a week after the event.

Clinical Trial Registration—

URL: Unique identifier: NCT00880113.

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