Hong Kong Med J 2013;19:229–36 | Number 3, June 2013 | Epub 6 May 2013
Endovascular treatment of ruptured internal carotid artery pseudoaneurysms after irradiation for nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients
Calvin HK Mak, KM Cheng, YL Cheung, CM Chan
Department of Neurosurgery, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, 30 Gascoigne Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVES. To evaluate the efficacy and complications of endovascular treatment for ruptured internal carotid artery pseudoaneurysms following irradiation of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
DESIGN. Retrospective case series.
SETTING. Tertiary neurosurgical referral unit of a Hong Kong public hospital.
PATIENTS. Patients with ruptured radiation-induced internal carotid artery pseudoaneurysms that were treated endovascularly from October 1999 to October 2011 at Queen Elizabeth Hospital were reviewed. Hospital records, imaging, and angiographic data were studied.
RESULTS. During the study period, 15 such nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients were treated by endovascular means at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Ten presented with epistaxis, three with otorrhagia (bleeding from the ear), and two with both. Therapeutic occlusion of the affected internal carotid artery was performed in four patients, and stenting of the artery (with or without coil obliteration of the pseudoaneurysm) was performed in 11. Immediate haemostasis was achieved in all cases. One (7%) of the 15 patients endured symptomatic recurrence of the pseudoaneurysm, and in another an asymptomatic residual pseudoaneurysm was noted in the follow-up angiogram. Three patients suffered clinically significant procedure-related complications, including cerebral infarction (n=2) and brain abscess (n=1). In the angiograms obtained after a mean post-treatment interval of 13 (range, 0.7-60) months, the stent patency rate was 67%. All three patients with occluded stents were asymptomatic.
CONCLUSIONS. Ruptured internal carotid artery pseudoaneurysms following radiotherapy is a rare but life-threatening condition. Endovascular treatment by occlusion or reconstruction of the internal carotid artery with stents provides immediate haemostasis and obliteration of the pseudoaneurysms, with a low recurrence rate. Long-term follow-up is necessary to look out for delayed post-treatment complications.
Key words: Aneurysm, ruptured; Carotid artery, internal; Embolization, therapeutic; Nasopharyngeal neoplasms; Stents
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