RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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[Surgery of the carotid artery: a retrospective study of 35 consecutive cases].

OBJECTIVE: To retrospectively analyze a single institution's experience with surgery of the carotid artery performed as part of an oncological procedure and emergency hemostasis, with the aim to determine the preoperative methods for evaluation of cerebral circulation, selection of surgical procedures and perioperative complications.

METHODS: From January 1999 to December 2004, a total of 35 patients underwent carotid artery surgery including repair of carotid artery in 7 cases, ligation or resection of carotid artery in 17 cases, and reconstruction of carotid artery in 11 cases. All the patients were evaluated for blood flow in the circle of Willis with DSA, DSA plus TBO plus SPECT, and TCD and followed up from 4 months to 4 years. The perioperative complications and surgical outcomes were recorded and analyzed.

RESULTS: There were 16 carotid body tumors, 1 malignant carotid body tumor, 17 malignant tumors involving the carotid artery and 1 traumatic arterio-venous fistula. Twenty-seven patients underwent carotid occlusion test, 10 were positive and 17 were negative (tolerable). Of 7 cases with repair of the carotid artery, 1 patient died of uncontrolled bleeding due to rupture of the anastomosis, and the remaining was uneventful. Of 17 cases with ligation or resection of the carotid artery, 4 developed neurologic deficit 2 weeks postoperatively. Three patients with malignant tumors died 1 month, 4 months, and 4 months postoperatively, respectively. One patient with carotid artery body tumor complained of inarticulate speech 4 months after operation; another patient complained of incapability and limited movement of the ipsilateral upper limbs; 5 patients complained of dizziness 4, 6, 12, 24 and 48 months postoperatively. Of 11 patients who underwent carotid reconstruction, no major cerebral complications were noted after operation. One patient died of recurrence, 1 patient with carotid body tumor complained inarticulate speech and incapability of the contralateral limbs, the remaining was uneventful. Color Doppler showed patent vascular graft 1 year postoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS: TBO plus SPECT is a reliable method for evaluation of the circle of Willis currently. The short term and long term complications of ligation of carotid artery are high, therefore, resection and revascularization of the carotid artery is advocated for carotid artery tumors when possible.

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