Type of publication:
*Hamps C.; *Pilkington R.; *Merriman C.; *Thomas S.; *Bhatia S.
British Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; Dec 2019; vol. 57 (no. 10)
Introduction Carotid blowout syndrome (CBS) refers to rupture of the carotid artery and is an uncommon but often catastrophic complication of head and neck cancer when arterial wall integrity is compromised,
particularly where surgical procedures and radiotherapy are involved. Rupture occurs most commonly in the common carotid artery in proximity to the furcation, often within 10-40 days post surgery. Methods We present the use of a great saphenous vein carotid artery bypass graft in the management of a 47-year-old woman with recurrent squamous cell carcinoma (T2 N1 M0 RO V1) utilizing the Pruitt F3 carotid shunt system to minimize cerebral perfusion compromise. We explore pre and post-operative surgical considerations including suggested graft-monitoring protocols. Results The body of evidence supporting the use of carotid bypass grafts is limited. Despite data paucity, case series are available demonstrating variable mortality. A systematic review of PubMed was conducted revealing three English language case series. One series reported a 2-year survival of 82% with carotid sacrifice and autogenous venous graft where distant metastatic disease is absent. 96% of patients experienced no neurologic sequela whilst 3.9% suffered CVA post-operatively. Our own patient remains free of neurologic symptoms and graft patency has been confirmed at 3 months. Clinical Relevance Tumour resection involving in the carotid artery presents an array of surgical management possibilities including tumour shaving, artery ligation or resection. The long-term survival of carotid bypass graft is unknown and reported complications vary, it remains a promising technique in the prevention of carotid blowout syndrome.