Indocyanine green (ICG) videoangiography has been established as a noninvasive technique to gauge the patency of a bypass graft; however, intraoperative graft patency may not always correlate with graft flow. Altered flow through the bypass graft may directly cause delayed graft occlusion. Here, the authors report on 3 types of flow that were observed through cerebral revascularization procedures.
Between February 2009 and September 2013, 48 bypass procedures were performed. Excluded from analysis were those cases in which ICG videoangiography was not performed during surgery (whether it was not available or there was a technical issue with the microscope or the quality of ICG angiography) and/or in which angiography or CT angiography was not done within 24–72 hours after surgery. After anastomosis, bypass patency was assessed first using a noninvasive technique and then with ICG videoangiography, and flow through the graft was characterized. Patients who received a vein or radial artery graft were also evaluated with intraoperative angiography.
Thirty-three patients eligible for analysis were retrospectively analyzed. The patients had undergone extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) or IC-IC bypass for ischemic stroke (13 patients), moyamoya disease (10 patients), and complex aneurysms (10 patients; 6 giant or large aneurysms, 2 carotid blister-like aneurysms, and 2 dissecting posterior inferior cerebellar artery [PICA] aneurysms). Thirty-six bypasses were performed including 26 superficial temporal artery (STA)–middle cerebral artery (MCA) bypasses (2 bilateral and 1 double-barrel), 6 EC-IC vein grafts, 1 EC-IC radial artery graft, 1 PICA-PICA bypass, 1 MCA–posterior cerebral artery bypass, and 1 occipital artery–PICA bypass. Robust anterograde flow (Type I) was noted in 31 grafts (86%). Delayed but patent graft enhancement and anterograde flow (Type II) was observed in 4 cases (11%); 1 of these cases with an EC-IC vein graft degraded gradually to very delayed flow with no continuity to the bypass site (Type III). Additionally, 1 STA-MCA bypass graft revealed no convincing flow (Type III).
The 5 patients with Type II or III grafts were evaluated with a flow probe and reexploration of the bypass site, and in all cases the reason the graft became occluded was believed to be recipient-vessel competitive flow. In no case was there evidence of stenosis or a technical issue at the site of the anastomosis. Three patients with Type II and the 1 patient with Type III flow (11% of procedures) did not have a patent bypass on postoperative imaging.
Indocyanine green videoangiography is reliable for evaluating flow through the EC-IC or IC-IC bypass. The type of flow observed through the graft has a direct relationship with postoperative imaging findings. Despite the possibility of competitive flow, Type III and some Type II flows through the graft indicate the need for graft evaluation and anastomosis exploration.