Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Carotid and Vertebral Artery Dissection
  1. Marcel Arnold*,
  2. Marie-Germaine Bousser
  1. *Consultant Neurologist, Department of Neurology, University Hospital of Berne, Switzerland and
  2. Professor in Neurology, Department of Neurology, University Hospital, Lariboisière, Paris, France; E-mail: marcel.arnold{at}



Carotid and vertebral artery dissections are potentially disabling and yet probably under-diagnosed, and mainly seem to affect young and middle-aged people (Bogousslavsky et al. 1987). Our review focuses on the mechanisms, possible underlying causes, clinical manifestations, diagnostic tools, treatment and prognosis of both carotid and vertebral dissection.


Cervical artery dissection accounts for up to 20% of strokes in patients under 30 years of age (Bogousslavsky et al. 1987). The incidence of carotid dissection is about 2–3 per 100 000 per year (Schievink et al. 1993; Giroud et al. 1995); the incidence of cervical dissection must be higher because these figures do not take into account vertebral dissection (about 25% of all dissections), dissections without ischaemic events (20% of extracranial dissections) or asymptomatic dissections. Furthermore, dissections may be overlooked because the clinical manifestations resolve spontaneously and are not necessarily familiar to many emergency physicians. Most studies report either

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

Other content recommended for you