Imaging analysis of ischemic strokes due to blunt cerebrovascular injury

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND The timing of stroke onset among patients with blunt cerebrovascular injury (BCVI) is not well understood. All blunt trauma patients at our institution undergo a screening computed tomographic angiography (CTA) of the neck. Most patients with CTA evidence of BCVI are treated with aspirin, and all patients with clinical evidence of stroke are treated with aspirin and undergo magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. We conducted a retrospective review to determine the incidence of stroke upon admission and following admission. METHODS All neck CTAs and head MRIs obtained in blunt trauma patients were reviewed from August 2017 to August 2019. All CTAs that were interpreted as showing BCVI were individually reviewed to confirm the diagnosis of BCVI. Stroke was defined as brain MRI evidence of new ischemic lesions, and each MRI was reviewed to identify the brain territory affected. We extracted the time to aspirin administration and the timing of stroke onset from patients' electronic health records. RESULTS Of the 6,849 blunt trauma patients, 479 (7.0%) had BCVIs. Twenty-four patients (5.0%) with BCVI had a stroke on admission. Twelve (2.6%) of the remaining 455 patients subsequently had a stroke during their hospitalization. The incidence of stroke among patients with BCVI was 7.5%; 2.6% were potentially preventable. Only 5 of the 12 patients received aspirin before the onset of stroke symptoms. All 36 patients with BCVI and stroke had thromboembolic lesions in the territory supplied by an injured vessel. CONCLUSION With universal screening, CTA evidence of BCVI is common among blunt trauma patients. Although acute stroke is also relatively common in this population, two thirds of strokes are already evident on admission. One third of BCVI-related strokes occur after admission and often relatively early, necessitating rapid commencement of preventative treatment. Further studies are required to demonstrate the value of antithrombotic administration in preventing stroke in BCVI patients. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE Prognostic and Epidemiologic; Level IV.
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    Author List

  • Abraham PJ; Black JA; Griffin RL; Abraham MN; Liptrap EJ; Thaci B; Holcomb JB; Kerby JD; Harrigan MR; Jansen JO
  • Start Page

  • 990
  • End Page

  • 996
  • Volume

  • 92
  • Issue

  • 6