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Cerebrovasc Dis. 2005;20(2):108-13. Epub 2005 Jul 5.

Outcome in patients with stroke associated with internal carotid artery occlusion.

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Stroke Unit, Department of Neuroscience, University of Perugia, Ospedale Silvestrini, Perugia, Italy.



The clinical outcome in patients with stroke associated with internal carotid artery (ICA) occlusion is poor, although a minority may recover without dependency. The purposes of this study were (1) to assess the predictive factors of adverse outcome in patients with stroke associated with an occlusion of the ICA and (2) to evaluate the rate of spontaneous recanalization of an occluded ICA.


A total of 177 consecutive patients with first-ever ischemic stroke associated with ICA occlusion were prospectively examined from the Perugia Stroke Registry. Mean age was 71.4 +/- 14.3 years; 53% were males. Multiple regression models were used to analyze predictors of mortality, dependency and ipsilateral stroke recurrence.


The most probable cause of occlusion was atherosclerosis in 65%, cardioembolism in 22%, dissection in 9% and other causes in 4%. Thirty percent of the patients died within 30 days. After a mean follow-up of 420 days (range 1-1,970 days), 45% of the patients had died and 75% had died or were disabled. Another 6% of the patients had a recurrent stroke ipsilateral to the occluded carotid artery. Age was the only predictor of 30-day mortality (77.7 +/- 9.7 vs. 68.7 +/- 15.2 years; p = 0.03) and of long-term mortality or disability (p < 0.003). Hypertension (OR 0.42; 95% CI 0.17-1.00; p = 0.05) was associated with a better outcome within 30 days from stroke onset. Previous ipsilateral transient ischemic attack (OR 0.24; 95% CI 0.06-0.89; p = 0.03) and hyperlipidemia (OR 0.38; 95% CI 0.15-0.99; p = 0.049) were predictors of a better outcome with respect to long-term mortality or disability. No predictors of ipsilateral stroke recurrence were found. One hundred and five out of 177 patients had adequate follow-up ultrasound data. After a mean follow-up of 1.8 years, 10 patients had recanalization of the occluded ICA (2/71 atherosclerosis, 3/19 cardioembolism and 5/15 dissection).


After a mean follow-up of 1.2 years, 45% of the patients with stroke associated with ICA occlusion had died, while 75% had died or were functionally dependent. The presence of either previous ipsilateral transient ischemic attack, hypertension or hyperlipidemia was associated with a favorable outcome. Recanalization of an occluded ICA occurred in a minority of patients and it was associated with cardioembolism and with arterial dissection.

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