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Christopher J. Stapleton, Gursant S. Atwal, Ahmed E. Hussein, Sepideh Amin-Hanjani and Fady T. Charbel


In extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass surgery, the cut flow index (CFI) is the ratio of bypass flow (ml/min) to donor vessel cut flow (ml/min), and a CFI ≥ 0.5 has been shown to correlate with bypass patency. The authors sought to validate this observation in a large cohort of EC-IC bypasses for ischemic cerebrovascular disease with long-term angiographic follow-up.


All intracranial bypass procedures performed at a single institution between 2003 and 2018 were reviewed. Demographic, clinical, angiographic, and operative data were recorded and analyzed according to bypass patency with univariate and multivariate statistical analyses.


A total of 278 consecutive intracranial bypasses were performed during the study period, of which 157 (56.5%) were EC-IC bypasses for ischemic cerebrovascular disease. Intraoperative blood flow measurements were available in 146 patients, and angiographic follow-up was available at a mean of 2.1 ± 2.6 years after bypass. The mean CFI was significantly higher in patients with patent bypasses (0.92 vs 0.64, p = 0.003). The bypass patency rate was 83.1% in cases with a CFI ≥ 0.5 compared with 46.4% in cases with a CFI < 0.5 (p < 0.0001). Adjusting for age, sex, diagnosis, and single versus double anastomosis, the CFI remained a significant predictor of bypass patency (p = 0.001; OR 5.8, 95% CI 2.0–19.0). A low CFI was also associated with early versus late bypass nonpatency (p = 0.008).


A favorable CFI portends long-term EC-IC bypass patency, while a poor CFI predicts eventual bypass nonpatency and can alert surgeons to potential problems with the donor vessel, anastomosis, or recipient bed during surgery.