Cerebral hyperperfusion syndrome (CHS) is a rare but devastating complication of carotid endarterectomy (CEA). This study sought to determine whether quantitative hemodynamic assessment using MR angiography can stratify CHS risk.
In this prospective trial, patients with internal carotid artery (ICA) stenosis were randomly selected for pre- and postoperative quantitative phase-contrast MR angiography (QMRA). Assessment was standardized according to a protocol and included Doppler/duplex sonography, MRI, and/or CT angiography and QMRA of the intra- and extracranial supplying arteries of the brain. Clinical and radiological data were analyzed to identify CHS risk factors.
Twenty-five of 153 patients who underwent CEA for ICA stenosis were randomly selected for pre- and postoperative QMRA. QMRA data showed a 2.2-fold postoperative increase in blood flow in the operated ICA (p < 0.001) and a 1.3-fold increase in the ipsilateral middle cerebral artery (MCA) (p = 0.01). Four patients had clinically manifested CHS. The mean flow increases in the patients with CHS were significantly higher than in the patients without CHS, both in the ICA and MCA (p < 0.001). Female sex and a low preoperative diastolic blood pressure were the clearest clinical risk factors for CHS, whereas the flow differences and absolute postoperative flow values in the ipsilateral ICA and MCA were identified as potential radiological predictors for CHS.
Cerebral blood flow in the ipsilateral ICA and MCA as assessed by QMRA significantly increased after CEA. Higher mean flow differences in ICA and MCA were associated with the development of CHS. QMRA might have the potential to become a noninvasive, operator-independent screening tool for identifying patients at risk for CHS.