Perioperative stroke occurring in patients who undergo neck dissection for head and neck cancer: Unanswered questions

Sarah K. Thompson, J. Gregory McKinnon, William A. Ghali

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Stroke represents a major cause of disability among middle-aged and elderly people. Carotid artery stenosis is an important risk factor for stroke and is prevalent in elderly men with hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and those who smoke or have atherosclerotic disease, or both. Patients who undergo neck dissection for head and neck cancer may have some or all of the above characteristics and may experience surgical manipulation of the carotid arteries. This combination of medical and surgical factors may predispose such patients to perioperative stroke. A critical review of the literature was completed to determine the incidence of stroke perioperatively in patients undergoing a neck dissection for head and neck cancer. We found 2 studies that quoted the risk of stroke to be between 3.2% and 4.8%. The implications of these results are significant because they suggest a need for preoperative screening (with Doppler ultrasonography) or intervention (with carotid endarterectomy), or both. However, the quality of these 2 studies is such that future research is first needed to define the rate of stroke in head and neck surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-334
Number of pages3
JournalCANADIAN JOURNAL OF SURGERY
Volume46
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2003
Externally publishedYes

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