Acta Neurochirurgica

, Volume 161, Issue 10, pp 1993–2002 | Cite as

Bypass strategies for common carotid artery occlusion

  • Nils Hecht
  • Lars Wessels
  • Lucius Fekonja
  • Paul von Weitzel-Mudersbach
  • Peter VajkoczyEmail author
Original Article - Vascular Neurosurgery - Ischemia
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Vascular Neurosurgery - Ischemia



Common carotid artery occlusion (CCA-occlusion) is a rare condition where standard revascularization is not feasible. Here, we analyzed our experience with surgical revascularization of CCA-occlusion to develop an algorithm for selection of the most suitable bypass strategy according to the Riles classification.


During a 10-year period, 16 out of 288 patients with cerebrovascular disease and compromised hemodynamic reserve underwent revascularization for unilateral CCA-occlusion. The utilized bypass strategies included (1) a saphenous vein graft from the subclavian artery (SA) to the internal carotid artery (ICA), (2) a radial artery graft from the V3 segment of the vertebral artery (VA) to a superficial branch of the middle cerebral artery (MCA), or (3) a saphenous vein graft from the SA to a deep branch of the MCA.


In CCA-occlusion with maintained external carotid artery (ECA)/ICA patency (Riles type 1A), an SA-ICA bypass was performed (25%). In cases without ECA/ICA patency (Riles type 1B or 2) but suitable VA, a VA-MCA bypass was grafted (31%). In cases with unsuitable VA, a long SA-MCA interposition bypass was performed (38%). Transient postoperative neurological deficits occurred in 5 patients (31%) with 1 patient (6%) suffering permanent neurological worsening and 1 mortality (6%). Overall, no difference was found between the median preoperative mRS (2; range, 1–4) and the mRS at the time point of the last follow-up (2; range, 1–6; p = 0.75). The long-term graft patency was 94%.


Although surgical revascularization for CCA-occlusion is feasible, it is associated with a higher risk than standard bypass grafting. Considering the poor natural history of CCA-occlusion, however, this risk may be justified in carefully selected patients.


Cerebral revascularization Common carotid artery occlusion Chronic cerebral ischemia Extracranial–intracranial bypass Hemodynamic stroke 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (ethics committee of the Charité University Hospital in Berlin, Germany; EA2/178/18) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery and Center for Stroke Research Berlin (CSB)Charité - Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyAarhus University HospitalAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.Department of NeurosurgeryCharité – Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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