Revascularization surgery is a safe and effective surgical treatment for symptomatic moyamoya disease (MMD) and has been shown to reduce the frequency of future ischemic events and improve quality of life in affected patients. The authors sought to investigate the occurrence of acute perioperative occlusion of the contralateral internal carotid artery (ICA) with contralateral stroke following revascularization surgery, a rare complication that has not been previously reported.
This study is a retrospective review of a prospective database of a single surgeon’s series of revascularization operations in patients with MMD. From 1991 to 2016, 1446 bypasses were performed in 905 patients, 89.6% of which involved direct anastomosis of the superficial temporal artery (STA) to a distal branch of the middle cerebral artery (MCA). Demographic, surgical, and radiographic data were collected prospectively in all treated patients.
Symptomatic contralateral hemispheric infarcts occurred during the postoperative period in 34 cases (2.4%). Digital subtraction angiography (DSA) was performed in each of these patients. In 8 cases (0.6%), DSA during the immediate postoperative period revealed associated new occlusion of the contralateral ICA. In each of these cases, revascularization surgery involved direct anastomosis of the STA to an M4 branch of the MCA. Preoperative DSA revealed moderate (n = 1) or severe (n = 3) stenosis or occlusion (n = 4) of the ipsilateral ICA and mild (n = 2), moderate (n = 4), or severe (n = 2) stenosis of the contralateral ICA. The baseline Suzuki stage was 4 (n = 7) or 5 (n = 1). The collateral supply originated exclusively from the intracranial circulation in 4/8 patients (50%), and from both the intracranial and extracranial circulation in the remaining 50% of patients. Seven (88%) of 8 patients improved symptomatically during the acute postoperative period with induced hypertension. The modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score at discharge was worse than baseline in 7/8 patients (88%), whereas 1 patient had only minor deficits that did not affect the mRS score. At the 3-year follow-up, 3/8 patients (38%) were at their baseline mRS score or better, 1 patient had significant disability compared with preoperatively, 2 patients had died, and 1 patient was lost to follow-up. Three-year follow-up is not yet available in 1 patient.
Acute occlusion of the ICA on the contralateral side from an STA-MCA bypass is a rare, but potentially serious, complication of revascularization surgery for MMD. It highlights the importance of the hemodynamic interrelationships that exist between the two hemispheres, a concept that has been previously underappreciated. Induced hypertension during the acute period may provide adequate cerebral blood flow via developing collateral vessels, and good outcomes may be achieved with aggressive supportive management and expedited contralateral revascularization.