Management of pediatric craniocervical arterial dissections

Childs Nerv Syst. 2015 Jan;31(1):101-7. doi: 10.1007/s00381-014-2547-8. Epub 2014 Sep 17.


Purpose: Craniocervical arterial dissections (CCADs) represent a preventable cause of acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Our objective was to describe clinical presentation, imaging features, treatment strategies, and report clinical and imaging outcomes of CCADs at a large pediatric tertiary referral center.

Methods: Electronic medical records were queried using variations of the word dissection for patients under 25 years of age with neuroimaging over a 13-year period. Medical and imaging records were reviewed to identify carotid, vertebral, or intracranial dissections. Demographics, presenting symptoms, presence of AIS, mechanism of injury, dissection location, dissection treatment, and complications stemming from treatment were collected. Clinical outcome was classified according to modified Rankin Scale (mRS) score. Imaging follow-up was obtained until the dissection healed or stabilized.

Results: A total 6,289 patients met initial search criteria. Of the 42 (0.7%) patients with CCADs, 23 (54.8%) had internal carotid artery (ICA) dissections, and 17 (40.5%) had vertebrobasilar (VB) dissections. More females had ICA dissections (p = 0.002), and more males had VB dissections (p = 0.01). CCADs associated with traumatic presentation occurred in 34 patients (81.0%), while 8 (19.0%) were spontaneous. Good outcomes (mRS 0-3) were noted for 36 patients, and 5 had poor outcomes (mRS 4-6). In the 17 patients with vessel occlusion, 50.0% had partial or complete recanalization at a mean follow-up of 23.9 months.

Conclusions: CCAD is commonly related to trauma and presents with AIS. The majority of patients experience good clinical outcome. Recanalization of initial vessel occlusion occurs in half of cases at 2 years.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Management*
  • Electronic Health Records / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Trauma, Nervous System* / complications
  • Trauma, Nervous System* / diagnosis
  • Trauma, Nervous System* / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection* / complications
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection* / diagnosis
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection* / therapy
  • Young Adult