Background To detect restenosis after carotid endarterectomy (CEA), long-term monitoring is required. However, non-selective follow-up is controversial and can be limited by costs and logistical considerations.
Objective To examine the value of immediate perioperative vessel flow measurements after CEA using quantitative magnetic resonance angiography (QMRA) to detect patients at risk of long-term restenosis.
Methods A prospective cohort study with long-term sonographic follow-up after CEA for symptomatic internal carotid artery stenosis (ICAs) > 50%. In all patients, vessel flow has been assessed both pre- and postoperatively using QMRA within ±3 days of surgery. Data on QMRA assessment were analyzed to identify patients at risk of restenosis for up to 10 years.
Results Restenosis was recorded in 4 of 24 patients (17%) at a median follow-up of 6.8 ± 2.6 years. None of them experienced an ischemic event. Perioperative flow differences were significantly greater in patients without long-term restenosis, both for the ipsilateral ICA (p < 0.001) and MCA (p = 0.03), compared to those with restenosis (p = 0.22 and p = 0.3, respectively). The ICA mean flow ratio (p = 0.05) tended to be more effective than the MCA ratio in predicting restenosis over the long term (p = 0.35).
Conclusion Our preliminary findings suggest that QMRA-based mean flow increases after CEA may be predictive of restenosis over the long term. Perioperative QMRA assessment could become an operator-independent screening tool to identify a subgroup of patients at risk for restenosis, in whom long-term monitoring is advised.