Spontaneous middle cerebral artery dissection: a series of six cases and literature review

Neurosurg Rev. 2023 Sep 7;46(1):229. doi: 10.1007/s10143-023-02139-5.


Middle cerebral artery (MCA) dissection is rare, and various clinical presentations, including hemorrhage, ischemia, or comorbidities, and the changes in imaging findings over time hinder treatment decisions. The European Stroke Organization guidelines exclude MCA dissection. Few cases have been reported with no review of the relevant literature. Therefore, we reviewed the relevant literature and our own experience with non-traumatic MCA dissection cases to determine appropriate treatment strategies. At our institution and affiliated institutions, we encountered six cases of MCA dissection-five with infarction and one with hemorrhage. Two patients underwent revascularization, and one underwent an aneurysmectomy. We reviewed English and Japanese articles in PubMed and Medical Journal Web and summarized the results based on the relationships among age, sex, location, the presence of an aneurysm, the presence of angiography, history, treatment, and mode of onset. The clinical course, changes in imaging, treatment strategies, and prognosis were discussed. Eighty cases were included in the review. Cerebral aneurysms were more common distal to the M2 area (p = 0.00) and were correlated with hemorrhage (p < 0.001). Most hemorrhagic cases with aneurysms were treated surgically, while ischemic cases were treated with antithrombotic agents, and both had a similar neurological prognosis. There were some cases of rebleeding after antithrombotic therapy, especially in older adults.Surgical treatment is recommended in cases of hemorrhage and confirmed aneurysms, particularly for lesions distal to the M2 area. Patients with aneurysm-associated ischemia should be followed up, and antithrombotic treatment should be considered with particular care in older adults.

Keywords: Aneurysm; Antithrombotic treatment; Dissection; Middle cerebral artery; Modified Rankin Scale; Surgical treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Angiography
  • Dissection
  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Aneurysm* / surgery
  • Middle Cerebral Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Cerebral Artery* / surgery


  • Fibrinolytic Agents