"This report breaks new ground in that it contradicts the conventional wisdom that a completely blocked or occluded carotid cannot be opened," said the study's lead author, Tudor Jovin, M.D., assistant professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Pitt's School of Medicine, and co-director of the Center for Endovascular Therapy at UPMC.
Dr. Jovin's team, which consisted of members of the UPMC Stroke Institute, retrospectively studied 25 patients with acute carotid occlusion who underwent angiography with the intent to revascularize the occlusion from January 2002 to March 2005.
Researchers concluded that recanalization, or re-opening of the artery, was successful in 23 of the 25 patients, and that the procedure was done safely.
"The main finding of the report was that endovascular revascularization of occluded ICA in the setting of acute or subacute ischemic stroke carries a high-revascularization rate and is safe in selected patients," Dr. Jovin reported.
"Management of stroke because of acute internal carotid artery occlusion continues to represent a challenge because it may result in significant disability in 40 percent and death in 20 percent of cases," Dr. Jovin said. "Our results are significant because they offer an opportunity for patients who may need more aggressive treatment. Future prospective studies are necessary to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from this form of therapy."
Dr. Jovin added that early resto