Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Trauma. 2001 Aug;51(2):308-14.

Liberalized screening for blunt carotid and vertebral artery injuries is justified.

Author information

1
Department of Surgery, University of South Carolina, School of Medicine, Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital, Columbia, South Carolina, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Current literature suggests that blunt carotid injuries (BCIs) and vertebral artery injuries (BVIs) are more common than once appreciated. Screening criteria have been suggested, but only one previous study has attempted to identify factors that predict the presence of BCI/BVI. This current study was conducted for two reasons. First, we wanted to determine the incidence of BCI/BVI in our institution. Second, we wanted to determine the incidence of abnormal four-vessel cerebral angiograms ordered for injuries and signs believed to be associated with BCI/BVI and thus to determine whether the screening protocol developed was appropriate.

METHODS:

From August 1998, we used liberalized screening criteria for patients who were prospectively identified and suspected to be at high risk for BCI/BVI if any of the following were present: anisocoria, unexplained mono-/hemiparesis, unexplained neurologic exam, basilar skull fracture through or near the carotid canal, fracture through the foramen transversarium, cerebrovascular accident or transient ischemic attack, massive epistaxis, severe flexion or extension cervical spine fracture, massive facial fractures, or neck hematoma. Four-vessel cerebral angiograms were used for screening for BCI/BVI.

RESULTS:

Over the 18-month study period, 48 patients were angiographically screened, with 21 patients (44%) being identified as having a total of 19 BCIs and 10 BVIs. Nine patients had unilateral carotid artery injuries and three patients had bilateral carotid artery injuries. Vertebral artery injuries were unilateral in six patients. One patient had bilateral carotid artery injuries and a unilateral vertebral artery injury. One patient had a unilateral carotid artery injury and a unilateral vertebral artery injury, and one patient had a unilateral carotid artery injury and bilateral vertebral artery injuries. During the same study period, 2,331 trauma patients were admitted, with 1,941 (83%) secondary to blunt trauma. The overall incidence of BCI/BVI was 1.1%. The frequency of abnormal angiograms ordered for cerebrovascular accident or transient ischemic attack, massive epistaxis, or severe cervical spine fractures was 100%. The frequency of abnormal angiograms ordered for the other indications was as follows: fracture through foramen transversarium, 60%; unexplained mono- or hemiparesis, 44%; basilar skull fracture, 42%; unexplained neurologic examination, 38%; anisocoria, 33%; and severe facial fractures, 0%.

CONCLUSION:

The liberalized screening criteria used in this study were appropriate to identify patients with BCI/BVI. This study suggests BCI/BVI to be more common than previously believed and justifies that screening should be liberalized.

PMID:
11493789
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center