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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Stein, L., Liang, J. W., & Weinberger, J. (2017). Resolution of occlusive carotid artery thrombus treated with anticoagulation as demonstrated on duplex ultrasonography. Journal of Neuroimaging, 27(4), 376-380, which has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1111/jon.12447. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: While the majority of cerebral ischemic events due to carotid occlusive disease result from atherosclerotic plaque rupture, intraluminal carotid artery thrombus occasionally occurs in patients without preexisting carotid atherosclerosis. Identification of nonatherosclerotic thrombus as the cause of the carotid occlusive disease can obviate the need for an interventional procedure, and resolution of thrombus can be monitored with B-mode duplex ultrasonography.

METHODS: We reviewed 3 patients treated on The Mount Sinai Hospital Stroke Unit with anticoagulation for nonatherosclerotic carotid thrombi and followed with serial Doppler ultrasonogrpahy for resolution of thrombus.

RESULTS: Occlusive carotid thrombus was successfully treated in all 3 patients with systemic anticoagulation. B-mode duplex ultrasonography allowed for demonstration of resolving thrombus.

CONCLUSION: Differentiation between a stenotic plaque and occlusive thrombus can be achieved by ultrasonographic analysis of thrombus morphology, attachment site potential, and characteristics of a resolving thrombus. Systemic anticoagulation can safely and effectively eliminate the risk for future embolization and complete occlusion of the carotid artery in patients who present with transient ischemic events or completed infarcts of small size.

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