Spontaneous Recanalization After Carotid Artery Dissection: The Case for an Ultrasound-Only Monitoring Strategy

Sarah Lumsden, Gabor Rosta, Jean Bismuth, Alan B. Lumsden, Zsolt Garami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Dissection of the internal carotid artery (ICA) accounts for 5% to 25% of ischemic strokes in young adults. We report a case of spontaneous recanalization of a traumatic ICA dissection in which carotid duplex (CDU) and transcranial color-coded duplex ultrasound (TCCD) were used. A 47-year-old male presented with intermittent episodes of headache, blurry vision, anisocoria, and loss of taste sensation following a whiplash injury while body surfing. Magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) of the neck revealed absent flow in the cavernous ICA and a clot at the skull base. Carotid duplex, used to further evaluate flow, demonstrated reverberating color Doppler and spectrum signal. A TCCD showed ICA occlusion and smaller-caliber intracranial ICA. The patient reported for follow-up after 1 month on anticoagulation therapy. Upon his return, CDU and TCCD were normal and the ICA showed normal color and spectrum signals. Computed tomography angiogram confirmed ultrasound findings of a dramatic improvement of ICA patency. Additionally, the patient reported that his headaches had resolved. Extracranial CDU and TCCD are useful for monitoring patient progress in cases of spontaneous recanalization following carotid artery dissection. These inexpensive and noninvasive imaging modalities proved to be critical in the initial and follow-up evaluations of the extracranial and intracranial vascular system, providing a strong alternative to expensive magnetic resonance imaging and invasive angiograms and offering more hemodynamic information than "static" MRA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-247
Number of pages5
JournalMethodist DeBakey cardiovascular journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • TCCD
  • carotid duplex
  • internal carotid artery dissection
  • transcranial color-coded duplex ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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