Date: 13 May 2014

Impact of immediate cerebral angiography for in-hospital cerebral thromboembolism after cardiovascular surgery

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Objectives: Postoperative stroke remains a serious problem in cardiovascular surgery. We studied the role of cerebral angiography in postcardiotomy stroke.Methods: We retrospectively analyzed 5 in-hospital patients with stroke due to cerebral thromboembolism after cardiovascular surgery.Results: The incidence of inhospital cerebral thromboembolism was 0.5%, involving 5 patients among 913 adults undergoing cardiovascular operations. In-hospital cerebral thromboembolism occurred 3 to 9 days (average: 7±2 days) after surgery. Causes of cerebral thromboembolism were chronic atrial fibrillation in 1, transient atrial fibrillation in 2, artificial valve in 1, and intracranial arterial stenosis in 1. Immediate cerebral angiography, after exclusion of intracranial hemorrhage and complete cerebral infarction by computed tomography, revealed cerebral embolism in 3 and cerebral thrombosis in 2 with occlusion or stenosis of intracranial arteries. Local intraarterial administration of a thrombolytic agent was done in the 3 patients with cerebral embolism and occluded arteries were recanalized. Fibrinolysis was not done in 2 because of recanalized arteries or sufficient peripheral blood supply through collateral feeders. No patients exhibited rebleeding into the pericardial space or wound bleeding. All patients survived with moderate or full functional recovery.Conclusion: Immediate cerebral angiography with/without local thrombolysis may improve functional outcome and survival in patients with postcardiotomy cerebral thromboembolism.