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01.06.2014 | HEAD AND NECK | Ausgabe 6/2014

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology 6/2014

Management of infected carotid artery rupture

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology > Ausgabe 6/2014
Jie Liu, Quan Zeng, Jiang-Ju Huang, Guo-Hua Hu


Carotid artery rupture (CAR) is a life-threatening complication of head and neck cancer, and infection complicates its management. The purpose of this study was to review our experience with the treatment of infected CAR and to summarize the existing literature on this topic. We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients treated in our department from 2000 to 2011 and re-analyzed cases reported in the literature during the same time period. We analyzed etiology, anatomic location, treatment, and rates of recurrent hemorrhage for each case. A total of 46 episodes of infected CAR occurred in the four patients in our own records and 27 patients described in the literature. Twenty-eight patients suffered from various head and neck cancers and underwent surgical resection, and 27 of them subsequently received radiotherapy or radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy (the 28th patient died before radiotherapy due to severe blood loss). The most common site of bleeding was the common carotid artery (33/46, 71.7 %). Seventeen cases (17/45, 37.8 %) were treated with surgical ligation, 20 (44.4 %) with stent placement, and 7 (15.6 %) with embolization. Surgical ligation had a lower rate of recurrent bleeding (2/17, 11.8 %) than stent placement (12/20, 60.0 %) when used for the treatment of infected CAR (P = 0.037, Chi squared test). Our results suggest that surgical ligation is an effective option in the management of infected CAR and may be the best choice to prevent recurrent hemorrhage. The complication rates, however, may be high when the common carotid or the internal carotid arteries are ligated.

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