An Analysis of the Etiology of
Cervical Artery Dissections:
1994 to 2003

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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FROM:   J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2005 (Oct); 28 (8): 617622 ~ FULL TEXT


Michael T. Haneline, DC, MPH, Gary N. Lewkovich, DC

Palmer College of Chiropractic West,
San Jose, CA 95134, USA.

Objective:   To provide a literature review of the etiologic breakdown of cervical artery dissections.

Methods:   A literature search of the MEDLINE database was conducted for English-language articles published from 1994 to 2003 using the search terms cervical artery dissection (CAD), vertebral artery dissection, and internal carotid artery dissection. Articles were selected for inclusion only if they incorporated a minimum of 5 case reports of CAD and contained sufficient information to ascertain a plausible etiology.

Results:   One thousand fourteen citations were identified; 20 met the selection criteria. There were 606 CAD cases reported in these studies; 321 (54%) were internal carotid artery dissection and 253 (46%) were vertebral artery dissection, not including cases with both. Three hundred seventy-one (61%) were classified as spontaneous, 178 (30%) were associated with trauma/trivial trauma, and 53 (9%) were associated with cervical spinal manipulation. If one apparently biased study is dropped from the data pool, the percentage of CADs related to cervical spinal manipulation drops to approximately 6%.

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Conclusions:   The case series that were reviewed in this article indicated that most CADs reported in the previous decade were spontaneous but that some were associated with trauma/trivial trauma, and a minority with cervical spine manipulation. This etiologic breakdown of CAD does not differ significantly from what has been portrayed by most other authors.

Key Indexing Terms:   Cervical Artery Dissection, Trauma, Manipulation, Neck, Vertebral Artery


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