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Direct Damage to a Vertebral Artery Better Predicts a Vertebral Artery Injury than Elongation in Cervical Spine Dislocation

Direct Damage to a Vertebral Artery Better Predicts a Vertebral Artery Injury than Elongation in Cervical Spine Dislocation

Acta Medica Okayama 71(5): 427-432

Cervical spine dislocation and fracture of a transverse process are isolated risk factors for vertebral artery injuries (VAIs), which can cause a life-threatening ischemic stroke. Since in vivo experiments are not possible, it has not been unclear whether damage to or extension of vertebral arteries is more predictive of a VAI. To identify the imaging characteristics associated with VAI, we analyzed 36 vertebral arteries from 22 cervical spine dislocation patients who underwent computed tomography angiography (Aug. 2008-Dec. 2014). We evaluated (1) the posttraumatic elongation of the vertebral artery and (2) the presence of fracture involving the transverse foramen. VAI was found in 20 (56%) of the 36 vertebral arteries. The rate of residual shift (vertebral artery elongation) was not markedly different between the VAI and no-VAI groups. However, the rate of >1 mm displacement into the foramen and that of fracture with gross displacement (≥2 mm) differed significantly between the groups. We found that greater displacement of fractured transverse processes with cervical spine dislocation was a risk factor for VAI. These results suggest that direct damage to the vertebral arteries by transverse process fragments is more likely to predict a VAI compared to elongation, even in cervical spine dislocation.

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Accession: 059613466

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PMID: 29042701

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