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Endovascular treatment of carotid blowout syndrome: who and how to treat


Carotid blowout syndrome (CBS) is a high-risk condition associated with significant morbidity and mortality that may result from invasion and destruction of the cervical carotid vasculature from head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Endovascular approaches offer multiple modalities for treatment to prevent morbidity and death. In this paper we review our experience in addressing CBS and present an up-to-date algorithm of endovascular management.

16 lesions were identified in 8 patients treated with 9 procedures over the past year. Pseudoaneurysm and/or active extravasation were documented in at least one vessel in all 8 cases presenting with acute CBS. There were 13 pseudoaneurysms in external carotid artery (ECA) trunk (5), ECA branches (4), internal carotid artery (ICA) (1) and common carotid artery (CCA) (3). There were 3 additional ICA lesions due to tumor infiltration, resulting in ICA occlusion (2) and long segment stenosis (1).

Permanent vessel occlusion was performed in 11 lesions of the ECA trunk (4), ECA branches (4) and ICA (3). Stent-grafts were placed in 5 lesions in the CCA (3), ICA (1) and ECA trunk (1). Technical success and immediate hemostasis were achieved in all patients. There were no procedural deaths or immediate complications. With a median follow-up of 2 months (range, 1–13 months), three patients died: one from recurrent CBS, one from global brain ischemia after a cardiac arrest event unrelated to CBS and one from systemic disease. There was no other recurrence of bleeding or neurological complication.

Endovascular techniques offer an armamentarium to effectively address CBS, significantly affecting the care and outcome in this particular oncologic population. These techniques should be offered as early as possible in the context of a multidisciplinary approach.

  • Artery
  • larynx
  • malignant
  • intervention
  • stent

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