Dynamic compression in vertebral artery dissection in children: apropos of a new protocol

Childs Nerv Syst. 2021 Apr;37(4):1285-1293. doi: 10.1007/s00381-020-04956-1. Epub 2020 Nov 6.


Purpose: Our goals are (1) to report a consecutive prospective series of children who had posterior circulation stroke caused by vertebral artery dissection at the V3 segment; (2) to describe a configuration of the vertebral artery that may predispose to rotational compression; and (3) to recommend a new protocol for evaluation and treatment of vertebral artery dissection at V3.

Methods: All children diagnosed with vertebral artery dissection at the V3 segment from September 2014 to July 2020 at our institution were included in the study. Demographic, clinical, surgical, and radiological data were collected.

Results: Sixteen children were found to have dissection at a specific segment of the vertebral artery. Fourteen patients were male. Eleven were found to have compression on rotation during a provocative angiogram. All eleven underwent C1C2 posterior fusion as part of their treatment. Their mean age was 6.44 years (range 18 months-15 years). Mean blood loss was 57.7 mL. One minor complication occurred: a superficial wound infection treated with oral antibiotics only. There were no vascular or neurologic injuries. There have been no recurrent ischemic events after diagnosis and/or treatment. Mean follow-up was 33.3 months (range 2-59 months). We designed a new protocol to manage V3 dissections in children.

Conclusion: Posterior C1C2 fusion is a safe and effective option for treatment of dynamic compression in vertebral artery dissection in children. Institution of and compliance with a strict diagnostic and treatment protocol for V3 segment dissections seem to prevent recurrent stroke.

Keywords: Bow hunter syndrome; C1C2 fusion; Dynamic arterial compression; Posterior circulation stroke; Vertebral artery dissection.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Rotation
  • Stroke*
  • Vertebral Artery
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection* / complications
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection* / diagnostic imaging
  • Vertebral Artery Dissection* / therapy