Traumatic dissection of the anterior cerebral artery secondary to a rugby related impact: A case report with emphasis on the usefulness of T1-VISTA

Surg Neurol Int. 2023 Feb 3:14:43. doi: 10.25259/SNI_1082_2022. eCollection 2023.


Background: Cerebrovascular injuries (CVIs) are not usually considered in the differential diagnosis of sport-related head injuries (SRHIs). We encountered a rugby player with traumatic dissection of the anterior cerebral artery (ACA) after impact on the forehead. Head magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with T1-volume isotropic turbo spin-echo acquisition (VISTA) was used to diagnose the patient.

Case description: The patient was a 21-year-old man. During a rugby tackle, his forehead collided with the forehead of an opponent. He did not have a headache or disturbance of consciousness immediately after the SRHI. On the 2nd day of illness, he had transient weakness of the left lower limb several times. On the 3rd day of illness, he visited our hospital. MRI revealed occlusion of the right ACA and acute infarction of the right medial frontal lobe. T1-VISTA revealed intramural hematoma of the occluded artery. He was diagnosed with acute cerebral infarction due to dissection of the ACA and was followed up for vascular changes with T1-VISTA. The vessel had recanalized and the size of the intramural hematoma had decreased 1 and 3 months after the SRHI, respectively.

Conclusion: Accurate detection of morphological changes in cerebral arteries is important for the diagnosis of intracranial vascular injuries. When paralysis or sensory deficits occur after SRHIs, it is difficult to differentiate between concussion from CVI. Athletes with red-flag symptoms after SRHIs should not merely be suspected to have concussion; they should be considered for imaging studies.

Keywords: Concussion; Rugby; Sport-related head injury; T1-volume isotropic turbo spin-echo acquisition; Traumatic anterior cerebral artery dissection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports