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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

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          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).


          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.


          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.

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          Blunt carotid injury. Importance of early diagnosis and anticoagulant therapy.

          The incidence, associated injury pattern, diagnostic factors, risk for adverse outcome, and efficacy of anticoagulant therapy in the setting of blunt and carotid injury (BCI) were evaluated. Blunt carotid injury is considered uncommon. The authors believe that it is underdiagnosed. Outcome is thought to be compromised by diagnostic delay. If delay in diagnosis is important, it is implied that therapy is effective. Although anticoagulation is the most frequently used therapy, efficacy has not been proven. Patients with BCI were identified from the registry of a level I trauma center during an 11-year period (ending September 1995). Neurologic examinations and outcomes, brain computed tomography (CT) results, angiographic findings, risk factors, and heparin therapy were evaluated. Sixty-seven patients with 87 BCIs were treated. Thirty-four percent were diagnosed by incompatible neurologic and CT findings, 43% by new onset of neurologic deficits, and 23% by physical examination (neck injury, Horner's syndrome). There were 54 intimal dissections, 11 pseudoaneurysms, 17 thromboses, 4 carotid cavernous fistulas, and 1 transected internal carotid artery. Thirty-nine patients had follow-up angiograms. Mortality rate was 31%. Of 46 survivors, 63% had good neurologic outcomes, 17% moderate, and 20% bad. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated heparin therapy to be associated independently with survival (p < 0.02) and improvement in neurologic outcome (p < 0.01). Blunt carotid injury is more common than appreciated, seen in 0.67% of patients admitted after motor vehicle accidents. Therapy with heparin is highly efficacious, significantly reducing neurologic morbidity and mortality. Heparin therapy, when instituted before onset of symptoms, ameliorates neurologic deterioration. Liberal screening, leading to earlier diagnosis, would improve outcome.
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            A multivariate logistic regression analysis of risk factors for blunt cerebrovascular injury.

            The diagnosis of blunt cerebrovascular injuries (BCVI) has improved with widespread adaptation of screening protocols and more accurate multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT-A) angiography. The population at risk and for whom screening is indicated is still controversial. To help determine which blunt trauma patients would best benefit from screening we performed a comprehensive analysis of risk factors associated with BCVI. All patients with BCVI from June 12, 2000 (the date at which our institution began screening for these injuries) to June 30, 2009 were identified by the primary author (JDB) and recorded in a prospective database. Associated injuries were identified retrospectively by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) code and compared with similar patients without BCVI. Demographic information was also compared from data obtained from the trauma registry. Univariate analyses exploring associations between individual risk factors and BCVI were performed using Fisher's exact test for dichotomous variables and Student's t test for continuous variables. Additionally, relative risk (RR) was calculated for dichotomous variables to describe the strength of the relationship between the categorical risk factors and BCVI. Multivariate logistic regression models for BCVI, BCAI (blunt internal carotid artery injury), and BVAI (blunt vertebral artery injury) were developed to explore the relative contributions of the various risk factors. One hundred two patients with BCVI were identified out of 9935 blunt trauma patients admitted during this time period (1.03% incidence). Fifty-nine patients (0.59% incidence) had a BVAI and 43 patients (0.43% incidence) had a BCAI. Univariate analysis found cervical spine fracture (CSI) (RR = 10.4), basilar skull fracture (RR = 3.60), and mandible fracture (RR = 2.51) to be most predictive of the presence of BCVI (P < .005). Independent predictors of BCVI on multivariate logistic regression were CSI (OR = 7.46), mandible fracture (OR = 2.59), basilar skull fracture (OR = 1.76), injury severity score (ISS) (OR = 1.05), and emergency department Glasgow Coma Scale (ED-GCS) (OR = 0.93): all P < .05. Blunt trauma patients with a high risk mechanism and a low GCS, high injury severity score, mandible fracture, basilar skull fracture, or cervical spine injury are at high risk for BCVI should be screened with MDCT-A. Copyright 2010 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.
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              Blunt vertebral artery injuries in the era of computed tomographic angiographic screening: incidence and outcomes from 8,292 patients.

              Blunt injuries to the vertebral artery (BVI) are rare. Recent improvements in the multidetector computer tomography (MDCT) technology and increased use of screening protocols have led to a greater number of these injuries identified. Well-defined treatment recommendations are still lacking, and it is unclear whether screening and treatment lead to improved outcome. All patients who met predefined screening criteria were screened for BVI with a MDCT angiogram (MDCT-A). All patients identified with BVI were treated based on injury grade and associated injuries. Hospital course, morbidity, mortality, and follow-up were recorded and analyzed. A total of 8,292 patients were admitted for blunt injuries during this time period. Forty-four patients were found to have 47 BVI (three bilateral). Pharmacologic treatment with anticoagulants (AC)-heparin and warfarin-or an antiplatelet agent-clopidogrel and aspirin-was initiated in 37 patients (84%). Angiographic coiling was performed in eight patients (18%), and two (5%) had endovascular stents placed. Four patients developed signs of cerebral ischemia (9%), of whom three died and one recovered completely. Overall mortality rate was 16% (7/44). BVI-related mortality occurred in three patients (7%). Of these, two patients had bilateral vertebral artery occlusion or transaction, and death was considered nonpreventable. One death occurred in a patient with a unilateral vertebral dissection developed a posterior circulation infarct. Anticoagulation was felt to be contraindicated in this patient initially due to intracranial hemorrhage. This was deemed the only potentially preventable BVI-related mortality. Annual BVI-related mortality rate in the 4 years before initiating the screening protocol was 0.75 cases per year. During this study period, it was 0.57 cases per year. Under an aggressive screening and individualized treatment protocol for BVI, we had very few potentially preventable BVI-related strokes and deaths. We are unable to conclude; however, based on historical controls that either screening or treatment improved overall outcome.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                24 January 2018
                : 14
                : 173-178
                [1 ]Department of Radiology
                [2 ]Department of Trauma Surgery, University Medical Center, Regensburg, Germany
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Andreas Schicho, University Hospital of Regensburg, Department of Radiology, Franz-Josef-Strauss-Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany, Tel +48 941 944 7401, Fax +48 941 944 7402, Email andreas.schicho@ 123456ukr.de
                © 2018 Schicho et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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