Intraoperative duplex scanning can identify technical defects and increase the quality of carotid artery repair.
We evaluated 100 consecutive carotid operations in 96 patients (60 men and 36 women) from 1995 to 1998. Spectral-derived peak systolic flow velocities (PSV) were graded (PSV <100 cm/s, normal laminar flow; PSV 100-150 cm/s, mild or moderate flow disturbance; PSV >150 cm/s, severe flow disturbance). Prospective criteria for intraoperative revision included PSV greater than 150 cm/s, spectral broadening, and B-mode imaging of intimal flaps or intraluminal debris. Preoperative, intraoperative, and 6-week follow-up duplex scan results were analyzed.
All patients were evaluated and treated at a single academic institution.
All procedures were performed with the patient under general endotracheal anesthesia; 86% underwent shunting and 70% underwent patching.
Main Outcome Measure
Number and type of revisions, patency of repair, residual and recurrent stenosis, and ipsilateral neurologic events.
There were 33 intraoperative duplex studies with abnormal findings. Seven involved the common carotid artery and resulted in intraoperative revision of 5 intimal flaps at the site of the proximal clamp. In 11 patients, incomplete eversion endarterectomy resulted in elevated distal intimal flaps in the external carotid artery that were repaired through a separate arteriotomy. There were 15 abnormalities in the internal carotid artery prompting 5 revisions. Five studies with PSV of 100 to 150 cm/s had no defects on B-mode imaging and were observed without treatment. Five false-positive studies were attributed to increased flow velocity due to contralateral occlusive disease. At 6 weeks' follow-up, 4 of 5 repaired common carotid arteries were normal on duplex scan and 1 had a mild residual stenosis. Ten of the 11 external carotid repairs were patent and 1 was occluded. Four of the 5 internal carotid artery repairs were normal on postoperative evaluation and 1 had a mild residual stenosis. Of the 10 abnormal internal carotid arteries that were observed, 9 were normal on postoperative duplex and 1 had a mild residual stenosis. One perioperative stroke occurred in a patient with a normal, patent carotid repair.
Intraoperative duplex evaluation of carotid reconstruction is an efficient, sensitive tool that can detect technical lesions that will jeopardize surgical reconstruction. Interpretive judgment is required because all flow disturbances do not dictate surgical intervention. This technique enables the surgeon to maximize the quality of the arterial reconstruction during carotid artery surgery.