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Variant ascending pharyngeal artery maintaining flow in a subocclusive internal carotid artery


Ectopic branches of the external carotid artery are rare but have critical diagnostic and therapeutic implications. We present a case involving a 70-year-old man who presented with recurrent left hemispheric strokes in the setting of a subocclusive left internal carotid stenosis. A left ascending pharyngeal artery with variant origin from the internal carotid artery helped maintain flow distal to the area of stenosis and allowed for safe and successful internal carotid artery stenting. Identification of this variant and recognition of the anastomotic network involving this connection were crucial to determine the safety of stenting. The patient had no further recurrent events and had sustained improvement on his 90-day follow-up.

  • stroke
  • neuroimaging
  • neurosurgery
  • interventional radiology

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