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Neurocirugia (Astur). 2012 Feb;23(1):5-14. doi: 10.1016/j.neucir.2011.11.001.

Bypass surgery for the prevention of ischemic stroke: current indications and techniques.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, USA.



Although most ischemic strokes are thromboembolic in origin and their management is endovascular or medical, some are haemodynamic in origin and their management may be surgical. We reviewed bypass indications, patient selection and surgical techniques used in our current practice.


Extracranial-intracranial (EC-iC) bypass with superior temporal artery-to-middle cerebral artery (STA-MCA) bypass, high-flow interposition grafts and reconstructive techniques were used to treat patients with symptomatic ischemia.


During a 13-year period, 152 bypasses were performed for ischemia in 129 patients. Specific diagnoses included: (1) internal carotid artery (iCA) occlusion (58 bypasses); (2) MCA occlusion and, rarely, high-grade MCA stenosis (22 bypasses); (3) vertebrobasilar atherosclerotic steno-occlusive disease (2 bypasses); (4) moyamoya disease (65 bypasses); and (5) ischemic complications after aneurysm treatment (5 bypasses). of the 152 bypasses, 137 were conventional STA-MCA bypasses. fourteen patients had high-flow bypasses that included 4 "double-barrel" STA-MCA bypasses, 6 bypasses with interposition grafts to the cervical carotid artery, 2 subclavian artery-to-MCA bypasses, 1 MCA-to-posterior cerebral artery (PCA) bypass and 1 aorto-carotid bypass. The bypass patency rate was 96.1%.


Bypass surgery for the prevention of ischemic stroke is safe and elegant techniques have been developed. Patients with athero-occlusive disease, ischemic symptoms and haemodynamic insufficiency have significant risk of stroke if managed medically or left untreated. However, surgical intervention lacks supporting evidence from the recent Carotid occlusion Surgery Study (CoSS). Patients will be caught in a difficult position between a dismal natural history and an unproven surgical intervention. Clinicians must individualise their management until additional data are published or further consensus develops.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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