A Prospective Nonrandomized Study on Carotid Surgery Performed under General Anesthesia without Intraoperative Cerebral Monitoring
De Santis F
Chaves Brait CM
Di Cintio V
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BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to assess our experience of carotid surgery habitually performed under general anesthesia without intraoperative intracerebral monitoring, and following a pre-established perioperative protocol, which includes extensive use of an intraoperative shunt (IOS). METHODS: This study included 311 consecutive carotid operations performed over 32 months. This patient cohort represents 14% of our total experience in carotid surgery (2219 operations, major stroke/mortality rate: 1.4%). The IOS was inserted routinely in the presence of intraoperative blood pressure instability during cross-clamping and when the predictable clamping time might have exceeded 20 minutes. A moderate and stable hypertension was maintained throughout surgery without IOS. RESULTS: Overall, 120 (38.6%) endarterectomies were performed with primary closure, 73 (23.5%) with eversion technique, 113 (36.3%) with patch angioplasty, and 5 (1.6%) with other techniques. Out of 113 patch angioplasties, 111 (98.2%) were performed with an IOS. This was utilized in only 3 cases of direct carotid reconstructions or other carotid endarterectomy techniques (1.5%). Overall, the IOS placement rate was 36.7%. Postoperatively, 2 major strokes (.64%), 2 minor strokes (.64%), 4 hyperperfusion syndromes (1.3%), and no mortality were recorded. No cases of cross-clamp ischemia/shunt-related perioperative strokes were observed. CONCLUSIONS: The low perioperative stroke rate reported in this prospective study proves the advantages of wide use of IOS during carotid surgery. This coupled with a large experience in carotid surgery and close monitoring and support of blood pressure, are the major determinants of these results that demonstrate the low risk of shunt-related complications for surgeons who regularly utilize an IOS.