UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Neurology

Title: Carotid Artery Dissection and Stroke

Keywords: carotid artery dissection, stroke (PubMed Search)

Posted: 1/3/2008 by Aisha Liferidge, MD (Updated: 7/14/2024)
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  • Consider cervical artery dissection as the source of stroke in patients younger than age 40.
  • About 20% of such strokes are due to carotid artery or vertebral artery dissections.
  • Of these, internal carotid artery dissections are the most common.
  • These patients often present with a triad of neck and head pain, Horner's syndrome, and pulsatile tinnitus.
  • MRI/MRA is the best non-invasive diagnostic modality for arterial dissection.  Angiography may needed for confirmation.


Selim M, Caplan LR. Carotid Artery Dissection.  Current Treatment Options Cardiovascular Medicine.  2004; 6:  249-253.

Stapf C, Elkind MS, Mohr JP.  Carotid Artery Dissection.  Annual Review Medicine.  2000; 51:  329-47.

Schievink W. Spontatneous Dissection of the Carotid and Vertebral arteries.  NEJM.  2001; 344:  898-906.