Cervical artery dissection: a 5-year prospective study in the Belluno district

Eur Neurol. 2004;52(4):207-10. doi: 10.1159/000082037. Epub 2004 Nov 10.


Background: Artery dissection is an unusual cause of ischemic stroke, particularly frequent among young patients. The aim of this study was to collect epidemiological data on artery dissection in a hospital-based community, set up a diagnostic protocol and discover outcome predictors.

Methods: Among patients suffering from cerebral infarction resident in our country, those with clinical and radiological features suggestive of artery dissection were selected. Risk factors, investigative techniques and treatment were evaluated. Patients were subjected to clinical examinations and were regularly tested neuradiologically.

Results: Out of 895 ischemic stroke patients, 10 patients with cervical artery dissection (1.1%) were found. Seven patients were treated with anticoagulants and 3 received antiplatelet agents. One posttraumatic artery dissection patient died within a few days of the stroke. None of the patients suffered from a recurrence, while serious disability occurred in 4 of them.

Conclusions: Artery dissection should be suspected in any cerebral infarction patient, especially in young patients without risk factors for cerebrovascular diseases. The treatment of choice consists of anticoagulants. An early clinical diagnosis, strongly supported by radiological tests, is mandatory to start the proper treatment and achieve the best possible outcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use
  • Demography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / drug therapy
  • Stroke / epidemiology*
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection / drug therapy
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection / epidemiology*
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection / etiology


  • Anticoagulants