Penetrating Internal and Common Carotid Artery Injuries Shunts versus no shunts during repair effect on neurological outcomes

Juan A. Asensio, John J. Kessler, Tharun R. Kotaru, Louay D. Kalamchi, Stephanie S. Miljkovic, Parinaz J. Dabestani

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1 Scopus citations


Background: Penetrating Carotid artery injuries are rarely encountered even in busy in urban Trauma Centers. Repair is preferred over ligation for Internal (IC) and Common Carotid (CC) arteries. To date, the use of temporary shunts correlated to neurological outcomes has not been reported. Objectives are to specifically address the question: In patients with penetrating IC or CC injury requiring repair, does use of temporary shunts decrease mortality and/or improve neurologic outcomes? We hypothesized that the use of temporary shunts during revascularization might produce improvements in both areas. Methods: A literature search was performed through Medline Complete-PubMed, Cochrane, Ovid, and Embase for the period of 1900-2019. PRISMA guidelines were utilized. Thirty-two articles met inclusion criteria, ranging from 1960-2018. These were analyzed to determine whether surgical repair was performed with or without the use of temporary shunts. External Carotid artery injuries were excluded. Pre- and postoperative neurological outcomes and overall outcomes were analyzed. Non-parametric data were analyzed with Fisher's Exact or Chi-square tests as applicable. Statistical significance was set to a p-value < 0.05. Results: There were a total of 973 patients with penetrating IC and CC injuries; 136 (14%) patients underwent ligation and were excluded. Our study population consisted of 837 patients; 126 (15.1%) with shunts (WS), 711 (84.9%) without shunts (WOS). Mortality stratified to patients repaired WS versus WOS was 5.6% versus 11.1% (p=0.058). Neurological improvement was noted to be similar for patients undergoing repair WS – 14.2% versus WOS – 13.7% (p=0.8). Worsening neurological status for patients shunted WS – 3.4%, versus WOS – 9.0% (p=0.038). Data were analyzed for outcome variables including neurological deficits with or without mortality. Patients shunted had an improved and/or unchanged neurological outcome compared to patients not shunted during repair – 91.3% versus 80.9% (p=0.0047). Conclusions: Patients sustaining penetrating Internal and Common Carotid injuries repaired with temporary shunts have a slightly lower mortality rate and similar or unchanged neurological outcomes versus those repaired without shunts. Based on this evidence, we recommend thoughtful interoperative consideration for the use of temporary shunts for patients requiring complex repairs of these injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)266-273
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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