Vertebral artery dissections with and without cervical spine fractures: Analysis of 291 patients

Nathan A. Shlobin, Akash Mitra, Nikil Prasad, Hooman A. Azad, Michael B. Cloney, Benjamin S. Hopkins, Babak S. Jahromi, Matthew B. Potts, Nader S. Dahdaleh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Vertebral artery dissections occur when tears in the intimal layer of the vertebral artery and are associated with trauma, infection, and spontaneous etiologies. We aimed to identify differences in predisposing factors and outcomes in vertebral artery dissections associated with cervical spine fractures compared to those not associated with cervical spine fractures. Patients and methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients with vertebral artery dissections who presented to our institution at the time of dissection and had a minimum of 3 month follow-up and collected data on demographics, event characteristics, treatments, and outcomes in the form of modified Rankin scale scores. Results: In total, 291 patients with VAD were included in this study. Thirty-nine patients with VADs had associated fracture, while 252 patients had VADs without fracture. VAD patients with associated cervical fractures were more likely to be male (p < 0.001), have a greater number of comorbid conditions (p < 0.01), be smokers (p = 0.045), or have violence (p < 0.001) or motor vehicle accidents (p < 0.001) as the cause of their VADs. VAD patients with associated cervical fractures were less likely to have associated aneurysms or pseudoaneurysms (p = 0.002). VAD patients with associated cervical fractures were more likely to have higher mRS at discharge from the hospital (p < 0.001), 3 month follow-up (p < 0.001), and last follow-up (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Cervical spine fracture is likely the primary driver of poor neurological outcomes following vertebral artery dissection with associated cervical spine fracture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106184
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Volume197
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Keywords

  • Cervical spine
  • Cervical spine fracture
  • Pseudoaneurysm
  • Vertebral artery dissection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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