Thirteen patients with internal carotid occlusion underwent 14 primary external carotid revascularization procedures over a 31 month period. Ten patients had obliteration of their internal carotid stump combined with patch angioplasty of the external carotid artery, and 3 had vein bypasses from the common carotid artery to the external carotid artery. Eleven patients were symptomatic with either amaurosis fugax or hemispheric transient ischemic attacks. Two patients were asymptomatic. All patients had serial carotid noninvasive tests (B-mode ultrasonography, spectral analysis, and oculoplethysmography). The mean follow-up was 22 months. Recurrent amaurosis fugax secondary to recurrent stenoses developed in two patients. These were correctly predicted by B-mode imaging and altered flow characteristics on spectral analysis. Both patients were successfully treated with reoperative procedures to prevent failure of the primary reconstruction. External carotid revascularization is a safe and durable procedure, but careful periodic follow-up is necessary to detect stenoses developing at or remote from the initial operative site. Carotid noninvasive tests appear to be helpful in detecting recurrent disease. Carotid revascularization is superior to other forms of therapy in patients who have development of neurologic symptoms ipsilateral to a chronically occluded internal carotid artery.
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