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Limited Clinical Relevance of Vertebral Artery Injury in Blunt Trauma.

Lytle, Mark E; West, James; Burkes, Jason N; Beteck, Besem; Fisher, Tammy; Daoud, Yahya; Gable, Dennis R; Shutze, William P.
Ann Vasc Surg; 53: 53-62, 2018 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30053545


Blunt cerebrovascular injury (BCVI), although rare, is more common than previously thought and carries a substantial stroke and mortality risk. The purpose of our study was to evaluate the differences between blunt carotid artery (CA) and vertebral artery (VA) injuries, assess the stroke and death rates related to these injuries, and identify the relationship of Injury Severity Score (ISS) with stroke and mortality in BCVI.


Using a retrospective review of the trauma registry at a level I trauma center, we identified patients with BCVI. The study period began in January 2003 and ended in July 2014. Demographics, injuries reported, investigative studies performed, and outcomes data were obtained and analyzed. Radiographic images of both blunt CA and VA injuries were reviewed and graded by an independent radiologist, according to the current classification of blunt CA injuries.


BCVI involving 114 vessels was identified in 103 patients. This population consisted of 65 males and 38 females with an average age of 45 years (15-92, range). The average ISS was 22 (4-75, range). Cervical spine fracture occurred in 80% of VA injuries (64 total patients). Injuries involved the CA in 33, the VA in 59, and both in 11. The CA group had a higher incidence of traumatic brain injury (61% vs. 46%), ISS (27 vs. 18), and stroke (24% vs. 3%), compared to the VA group. Mortality in the CA group was 30% compared to 3% in the VA group. Patients with high ISS (≥25) had increased stroke rates compared to those with lower (<25) ISS (19% vs. 6.7%). All mortalities occurred with ISS >25. Logistic regression revealed that vessel injured, ISS, and Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) were significant risk factors for mortality. Multivariate analysis demonstrated carotid injury, and lowest GCS were independently associated with mortality.


In this comparison of CA and VA injuries in BCVI, VA injuries were more common and more frequently found with cervical spine fractures than CA injuries. However, VA injuries had a lower incidence of CVA and mortality. A high ISS was associated with stroke and mortality while carotid injury and lowest GCS were independently associated with increased mortality.
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