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Pattern of collaterals, type of infarcts, and haemodynamic impairment in carotid artery occlusion


Background: In internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion, increased oxygen extraction fraction (OEF) indicates inadequate collateral blood flow distal to the occlusion, which may be caused by poor function of collateral pathways. In ICA occlusion, the circle of Willis may be the major collateral pathway, while the collaterals through the ophthalmic artery and leptomeningeal vessels may be recruited when collateral flow through the circle of Willis is inadequate. Conversely, ischaemic lesions may affect the adequacy of collateral blood flow by reducing the metabolic demand of the brain.

Objective: To determine whether the pattern of collateral pathways and the type of infarcts are independent predictors of OEF in ICA occlusion.

Methods: We studied 42 patients with symptomatic ICA occlusion. The presence of Willisian, ophthalmic, or leptomeningeal collaterals was evaluated by conventional four vessel angiography. The infarcts on magnetic resonance imaging were categorised as territorial, border zone (external or internal), striatocapsular, lacunar, and other white matter infarcts. The value of OEF in the affected hemisphere was measured with positron emission tomography as an index of haemodynamic impairment.

Results: Using multivariate analysis, the presence of any ophthalmic or leptomeningeal collaterals and the absence of striatocapsular infarcts were significant and independent predictors of increased OEF.

Conclusions: In patients with symptomatic ICA occlusion, the supply of collateral flow, which is affected by the pattern of collateral pathways, and the metabolic demand of the brain, which is affected by the type of infarct, may be important factors determining the severity of haemodynamic impairment.

  • ACoA, anterior communicating artery
  • CBF, cerebral blood flow
  • CBV, cerebral blood volume
  • CMRO2, cerebral metabolic rate of oxygen
  • ICA, internal carotid artery
  • MCA, middle cerebral artery
  • MRA, magnetic resonance angiography
  • MRI, magnetic resonance imaging
  • OEF, oxygen extraction fraction
  • PcoA, posterior communicating artery
  • PET, positron emission tomography
  • ROI, region of interest
  • TCD, transcranial Doppler
  • TE, echo time
  • TIA, transient ischaemic attack
  • TR, repetition time
  • collateral circulation
  • cerebral infarction
  • carotid artery disease
  • positron emission tomography
  • oxygen extraction fraction

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