Cross-clamp ischemia during carotid endarterectomy can be prevented with carotid bypass shunts in vulnerable patients identified by cerebral monitoring for ischemia. We compared transcranial cerebral oximetry (TCO) with carotid stump pressure measurements for selective shunt use.
We prospectively collected data on 300 consecutive patients operated on under general anesthesia between 2009 and 2016. Shunts were inserted for a 10% or greater drop in cerebral saturations and/or a mean stump pressure less than 40 mmHg.
Seventy-five patients, 25% of the study population, were shunted. The indication was a combined desaturation and stump pressure in 38 (50% of the shunted group), desaturation alone in 11 patients (15%), and a low stump pressure alone in 26 patients (35%). There were no significant differences in baseline characteristics between those patients who were or were not shunted, except angiographic collateral blood supply, which was more commonly identified in patients who were not shunted. A watershed infarct occurred in just one patient with borderline TCO and stump pressure measurements in whom a shunt was not used.
There was poor concordance between TCO and stump pressures, but using both in determining the need for shunt use almost eliminated cross-clamp ischemia in this series of 300 carotid endarterectomy patients.