Acute Stroke Treatment by Surgical Recanalization of Extracranial Internal Carotid Artery Occlusion: A Single Center Experience

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Ischemic stroke due to an acute occlusion of the extracranial internal carotid artery (eICA) is associated with high morbidity and mortality. The best treatment option remains unclear. This study aims to increase the available therapeutic experience documented for surgical recanalization of acute eICA occlusions. We retrospectively reviewed all hospital records of the University Hospital Jena between 2006 and 2018 to identified patients with acute ischemic stroke due to an occlusion of the eICA who underwent emergent surgical recanalization. We analyzed clinical data, surgical reports, imaging data, and outpatient records. The primary outcome parameter was the modified Rankin Scale (mRS) at 3 months. During the survey, 12 patients (mean age: 62.3 ± 10.8 years; range: 35-87) underwent emergent surgical recanalization for an acutely symptomatic eICA occlusion. All patients presented with neurological deficits with a mean National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score at admission of 15.0 ± 5.1 (range 2-23). Patients were selected for surgery mainly due to the extent of the perfusion mismatch, while stroke severity and age were also considered. The median time from symptom onset to surgery was 309 ± 122 minutes (range 112-650 minutes). Complete recanalization was obtained in all 12 patients. No patient deteriorated postoperatively, no intracranial hemorrhage was observed, and no patient died in the following 3 months. Favorable outcomes (mRS: 0-2) after 3 months were achieved in 7 of 12 patients. The current study adds support to previous findings that the surgical recanalization of acute eICA occlusions is a possible and safe treatment option. However, a critical patient selection based on mismatch size in perfusion imaging is crucially important for successful treatment.

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