The Pruitt-Inahara shunt maintains mean middle cerebral artery velocities within 10% of preoperative values during carotid endarterectomy

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The purpose of this study was to assess the ability of the Pruitt-Inahara shunt to maintain adequate middle cerebral artery velocities during carotid endarterectomy.

Study Design

Prospectively collected data recorded during 548 carotid endarterectomies performed at a single university hospital were analyzed to look at changes in cerebral blood flow velocities at different stages during the procedure. Parallel data relating to blood pressure and end-tidal carbon dioxide were also examined.


During the first carotid artery cross clamp, middle cerebral artery velocity fell by 42%. A total of 169 patients (31%) had velocities that fell below 15 cm/s (electrical activity in the brain becomes altered below this level). After shunt insertion, only 2% of patients had middle cerebral artery velocities less than 15 cm/s. In only one patient was the velocity less than 10 cm/s. Increased systolic or diastolic blood pressure raised flow through the shunt significantly (P = .001). When two criteria used for selective shunt use were compared, only a moderate correlation was found between absolute middle cerebral artery velocity after carotid cross clamping and percentage change in middle cerebral artery velocity relative to preclamp values.


The Pruitt-Inahara shunt is able to maintain adequate middle cerebral artery velocity in 98% of patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy. Alterations in blood pressure can significantly affect flow through the shunt. (J Vasc Surg 2000; 32:299-306.)

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