What features distinguish carotid from vertebral artery dissection?

Differential features of carotid and vertebral artery dissections. The CADISP study

Debette S, Grond-Ginsbach C, Bodenant M, et al.

Neurology 2011; 77:1174-1181.



To examine whether risk factor profile, baseline features, and outcome of cervical artery dissection (CEAD) differ according to the dissection site.


We analyzed 982 consecutive patients with CEAD included in the Cervical Artery Dissection and Ischemic Stroke Patients observational study (n = 619 with internal carotid artery dissection [ICAD], n = 327 with vertebral artery dissection [VAD], n = 36 with ICAD and VAD).


Patients with internal carotid artery dissection (ICAD) were older (p < 0.0001), more often men (p = 0.006), more frequently had a recent infection (odds ratio [OR] = 1.59 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.09-2.31]), and tended to report less often a minor neck trauma in the previous month (OR = 0.75 [0.56-1.007]) compared to patients with VAD. Clinically, patients with ICAD more often presented with headache at admission (OR = 1.36 [1.01-1.84]) but less frequently complained of cervical pain (OR = 0.36 [0.27-0.48]) or had cerebral ischemia (OR = 0.32 [0.21-0.49]) than patients with VAD. Among patients with CEAD who sustained an ischemic stroke, the NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score at admission was higher in patients with ICAD than patients with VAD (OR = 1.17 [1.12-1.22]). Aneurysmal dilatation was more common (OR = 1.80 [1.13-2.87]) and bilateral dissection less frequent (OR = 0.63 [0.42-0.95]) in patients with ICAD. Multiple concomitant dissections tended to cluster on the same artery type rather than involving both a vertebral and carotid artery. Patients with ICAD had a less favorable 3-month functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale score >2, OR = 3.99 [2.32-6.88]), but this was no longer significant after adjusting for baseline NIHSS score.


In the largest published series of patients with CEAD, we observed significant differences between VAD and ICAD in terms of risk factors, baseline features, and functional outcome.

This reference is cited in the neurochecklist:

Abstract link

By Germain Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 2007 2:32 doi:10.1186/1750-1172-2-32, CC BY 2.0, Link

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