Cerebral hemodynamics in patients with carotid artery occlusion and contralateral moderate or severe internal carotid artery stenosis

F. Vernieri, P. Pasqualetti, M. Diomedi, P. Giacomini, P. M. Rossini, C. Caltagirone, M. Silvestrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Object. The purpose of this study was to evaluate cerebral hemodynamics in patients suffering from occlusion of the carotid artery (CA) and contralateral CA stenosis. Methods. Using transcranial Doppler ultrasonography, the cerebrovascular reactivity to hypercapnia in the middle cerebral arteries was evaluated by calculating the breath-holding index (BHI) of 69 symptomatic patients suffering from internal CA (ICA) occlusion and moderate or severe contralateral ICA stenosis. To evaluate which variables influenced BHIs ipsilateral to the site of ICA occlusion, a multiple stepwise linear regression analysis was performed that included the following factors: patient age, percentage of contralateral ICA stenosis, contralateral BHI, number of collateral pathways, and presence of hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and hyperlipidemia. An analysis of variance was conducted to evaluate the impact of the type of collateral vessels on the BHI. A regression analysis showed that the BHI ipsilateral to the site of ICA occlusion could be accounted for by the contralateral BHI (which was entered at the first step of the analysis, p <0.001) and by the number of collateral pathways (which was entered at the second step, p = 0.033). Neither the degree of contralateral ICA stenosis nor the other variables could be added to improve the model. The analysis demonstrated that the absence of collateral pathways and the presence of the anterior communicating artery (ACoA) alone were associated with lower BHI values than those found in the presence of two or three collateral vessels, regardless of the presence of an anterior collateral pathway. Conclusions. On the basis of these data one can infer that the cerebral hemodynamic status of patients with occlusive disease of the CA is influenced by individual anatomical and functional characteristics. Because improvement in contralateral hemodynamics after surgical correction of an ICA stenosis can only be expected in the presence of an ACoA, the planning of strategies for influencing cerebral blood flow distal to an ICA occlusion and, in particular, the consideration of a contralateral carotid endarterectomy, should be preceded by a careful evaluation of the intracranial hemodynamic adaptive status of the patient. Particular attention should be paid to cerebrovascular reactivity and the number and type of collateral vessels that are present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-564
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Carotid artery occlusion
  • Cerebral hemodynamics
  • Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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