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A Journal on Heart and Vascular Diseases

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology
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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2000 January-February;48(1-2):19-28


language: English, Italian

Carotid artery dissection. Correlation of different diagnostic techniques

Pannone A., Bertoletti G. B., Nesi F., Varakin I., Maritati G., Rabitti G.


Dissection of the carotid artery is a rare entity, but a frequent cause of cerebrovascular accidents in young adults and can result in severe neurologic consequences that are often irreversible.
Carotid dissection can be secondary to trauma, brisk rotation of hyperextension of the neck, as a complication in certain diseases. It may lead to distal embolization, complete occlusion of the vessel, extensive or limited stenosis, aneurysmal form which has the appearance of a berry aneurysm or resolution of the process with complete patency of the dissected vessel.
The authors find color-Doppler sonography to be an invaluable tool in the evaluation of such a process, since it is non invasive, readily available, relatively inexpensive and can yield detailed information about the lumen of the vessel, blood flow, mural and intramural structures. Furthermore, in comparison to MRA, color-Doppler sonography is particularly suitable for the early detection of thrombus.
Ultrasonographic investigation has some methodologic limitations: occlusion cannot always be demonstrated directly because of its high cervical location and detection of aneurysms localized in the retrostyloid space is usually not possible.
The combination of ultrasonographic findings and MRA is the method of choice for follow-up uo evaluation of carotid dissection and helps make the decision as to whether one should proceed to angiography in this young age group.

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