J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis
© 2020 The Author(s) Background: There is conflicting data on the effect of carotid revascularization on cognitive function. Objective: To examine cerebral blood flow and cognitive function after carotid revascularization. Methods: Patients with unilateral, asymptomatic hemodynamically significant carotid artery stenosis (80% by computed tomography angiography or magnetic resonance angiography) were eligible. Cerebral blood flow was measured preoperatively and 1 month postoperatively using quantitative phase contrast magnetic resonance angiography. Preoperative flow impairment was defined as ipsilateral flow at least 20% less than contralateral flow (ie, an ipsilateral and/or contralateral flow ratio ≤0.8). Significant improvement in blood flow was defined as at least a 0.15 increase in flow ratio from pre- to postoperative. A control group was managed medically. Four cognitive domains were assessed at baseline, 1 month, and 6-12 months postoperatively. Results: Seventy-five patients were enrolled at 6 sites; 53 carotid endarterectomy, 11 carotid artery stenting, and 11 medical management only controls. Preoperative Trails B scores were similar between groups. Revascularization was associated with significant improvement in executive function (Trials B) while no improvement was observed in controls (P = .007). Of patients with improvement in middle cerebral artery (MCA) flow, 90% had improved Trails B scores compared to 46.5% of patients without MCA flow improvement (P = .01). Greater absolute improvement in mean Trails B scores was observed in patients with MCA flow improvement compared to those without (48 seconds versus 24.7 seconds, P = .001). Conclusions: In a cohort of patient with asymptomatic carotid stenosis, improvement in MCA flow following carotid revascularization is associated with improvement in executive functioning.
School of Medicine