Carotid Artery Catheter (CAC)

Available in: Rats Anesthetics Analgesic
Pre-Operative Procedures Intra-Operative Care Post-Operative Care

Surgical Preparation

The animal is anesthetized and clipped over the right (or left) carotid artery and at the nape. Sterile eye lubricant is placed in both eyes, and the clipped skin area over the carotid artery is surgically prepared. The animal is placed in dorsal recumbency on a surgery board fitted with a sterile board drape. Analgesic is administered.

Surgical Description

To expose the carotid artery, a small (1-3 cm) skin incision is made right (or left) of the midline terminating at the level of the clavicle. A dissecting scope may be required for the remainder of this procedure. The muscle ventral to the artery is retracted, salivary and other associated tissues are gently cleared using blunt dissection to expose the carotid artery. Two pieces of suture are tied around the carotid artery (approximately 2-7 mm apart); the cranial piece is tightly tied while the caudal piece is loosely tied. The cranial suture is weighted with a small hemostat or needle holder to reduce bleeding. An incision is made to the vessel, and a sterile catheter is inserted toward the heart just outside of the aortic valves. Once in place, the suture is used to anchor the catheter securely to the vein. The catheter is tested for patency. Blood in the surgical site is controlled with cotton-tipped applicators or gauze.

Surgical Closing

The animal is turned to permit access to the dorsal area where the catheter will be tunneled through to an exit site on the nape. The clipped area of the nape is surgically prepared, and a small (approximately 2-7 mm), midline incision is made to the skin between the shoulder blades. The catheter is tunneled under the skin and accessed through the incision at the nape. The catheter is checked for patency and is filled with a locking solution and plugged. The ventral and dorsal incisions are closed with approved closing materials (suture or stainless steel clips), and the catheter plug is anchored to the closing material. Excess catheter is tucked under the skin, and the surgery sites are treated with an approved disinfectant followed by an alcohol swabbing.


A standard sham CAC model is prepared as described above with regards to surgical site preparation, dissection of the carotid, tunneling, wound closing, and surgical site disinfection; however, no catheters are inserted.