eISSN: 1897-4295
ISSN: 1734-9338
Advances in Interventional Cardiology/Postępy w Kardiologii Interwencyjnej
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vol. 11
Original paper

Low prevalence of collateral cerebral circulation in the circle of Willis in patients with severe carotid artery stenosis and recent ischemic stroke

Rafał Badacz
Tadeusz Przewłocki
Izabela Karch
Piotr Pieniążek
Agnieszka Rosławiecka
Szymon Mleczko
Andrzej Brzychczy
Mariusz Trystuła
Krzysztof Żmudka
Anna Kabłak-Ziembicka

Postep Kardiol Inter 2015; 11, 4 (42): 312–317
Online publish date: 2015/12/01
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Introduction: The circle of Willis is thought to play a key role in development of collateral flow in patients with internal carotid artery stenosis (ICAS).

Aim: To assess flow in the circle of Willis in patients with recent ischemic stroke (IS).

Material and methods: The study included 371 patients, 102 symptomatic with severe ICAS and recent IS (within the last

3 months) (group I) and 269 asymptomatic with severe ICAS (group II). Flow in the middle (MCA), anterior (ACA) and posterior (PCA) cerebral arteries and pattern of the cross-flow through anterior (ACoA) and posterior (PCoA) communicating arteries were assessed with transcranial color-coded Doppler ultrasonography (TCCD).

Results: The ACoA or PCoA was less prevalent in group I than in group II (54% vs. 78%, p < 0.001 and 20% vs. 42%, p < 0.001, respectively), resulting in lower peak-systolic velocity (PSV) in the MCA in group I vs. group II (p = 0.015). Any collateral pathway was present in 67% of patients in group I, compared to 86% in group II (p < 0.001). Both PSV and end-diastolic (EDV) flow velocity in the ACA were lower in patients with recent IS, compared to asymptomatic subjects (71 ±24 cm/s vs. 86 ±34 cm/s, p < 0.001 and 32 ±12 cm/s vs. 37 ±17 cm/s, p = 0.038, respectively). Presence of ACoA or PCoA and higher PSV in the MCA and ACA were associated with significant risk reduction of IS (RR = 0.28 (95% CI = 0.16–0.49, p < 0.001), RR = 0.28 (95% CI = 0.15–0.52, p < 0.001), RR = 0.97 (95% CI = 0.96–0.99, p < 0.001), RR = 0.99 (95% CI = 0.98–0.99, p < 0.032), respectively). However, ROC curves failed to show reliable MCA or ACA PSV cut-offs for IS risk assessment.

Conclusions: The ACoA and PCoA seem to play a key role in the evaluation of IS risk in subjects with severe ICAS.

stroke, circle of Willis, collateral circulation, transcranial Doppler, carotid artery stenosis

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