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Incidence of traumatic carotid and vertebral artery dissections: results of cervical vessel computed tomography angiogram as a mandatory scan component in severely injured patients

Authors Schicho A, Luerken L, Meier R, Ernstberger A, Stroszczynski C, Schreyer A, Dendl LM, Schleder S

Received 3 August 2017

Accepted for publication 18 November 2017

Published 24 January 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 173—178

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/TCRM.S148176

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh


Andreas Schicho,1 Lukas Luerken,1 Ramona Meier,1 Antonio Ernstberger,2 Christian Stroszczynski,1 Andreas Schreyer,1 Lena-Marie Dendl,1 Stephan Schleder1

1Department of Radiology, 2Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center, Regensburg, Germany

Purpose: The aim of this study was to evaluate the true incidence of cervical artery dissections (CeADs) in trauma patients with an Injury Severity Score (ISS) of ≥16, since head-and-neck computed tomography angiogram (CTA) is not a compulsory component of whole-body trauma computed tomography (CT) protocols.
Patients and methods: A total of 230 consecutive trauma patients with an ISS of ≥16 admitted to our Level I trauma center during a 24-month period were prospectively included. Standardized whole-body CT in a 256-detector row scanner included a head-and-neck CTA. Incidence, mortality, patient and trauma characteristics, and concomitant injuries were recorded and analyzed retrospectively in patients with carotid artery dissection (CAD) and vertebral artery dissection (VAD).
Results: Of the 230 patients included, 6.5% had a CeAD, 5.2% had a CAD, and 1.7% had a VAD. One patient had both CAD and VAD. For both, CAD and VAD, mortality is 25%. One death was caused by fatal cerebral ischemia due to high-grade CAD. A total of 41.6% of the patients with traumatic CAD and 25% of the patients with VAD had neurological sequelae.
Conclusion: Mandatory head-and-neck CTA yields higher CeAD incidence than reported before. We highly recommend the compulsory inclusion of a head-and-neck CTA to whole-body CT routines for severely injured patients.

Keywords: polytrauma, carotid artery, vertebral artery, dissection, blunt trauma, computed tomography angiogram

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