Vertebral artery injury after cervical spine trauma: A prospective study using computed tomographic angiography
Jae-Won Jang, Jung-Kil Lee, Hyuk Hur, Bo-Ra Seo, Jae-Hyun Lee, Soo-Han Kim Surgical Neurology International 2011 2(1):39-39 Background: Although the vertebral artery injuries (VAI) associated with cervical spine trauma are usually clinically occult, they may cause fatal ischemic damage to the brain stem and cerebellum.
Methods: We performed a prospective study using computed tomographic angiography (CTA) to determine the frequency of VAI associated with cervical spine injuries and investigate the clinical and radiological characteristics. Between January 2005 and August 2007, 99 consecutive patients with cervical spine fractures and/or dislocations were prospectively evaluated for patency of the VA, using the CTA, at the time of injury.
Results: Complete disruption of blood flow through the VA was demonstrated in seven patients with unilateral occlusion (7.1%). There were four men and three women with a mean age of 43 (range, 33-55 years). Unilateral occlusion of the right vertebral artery occurred in four patients and of the left in three. Regarding the cervical injury type, two cases were cervical burst fractures (C6 and C7), two had C4-5 fracture/dislocations, two had a unilateral transverse foraminal fracture, and one had dens type III fracture. All patients presented with good patency of the contralateral VA. None of the patients developed secondary neurological deterioration due to vertebrobasilar ischemia during the follow-up period with a mean duration of 23 months.
Conclusions: VAI should be suspected in patients with cervical trauma that have cervical spine fractures and/or dislocations or transverse foramen fractures. CTA was useful as a rapid diagnostic method for ruling out VAI after cervical spine trauma.
Categories: Spine and Peripheral nerve