Research Article| Volume 31, ISSUE 3, 106302, March 2022

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Structural Changes of Intra and Extracranial Artery Dissection: a Study of High-Resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging



      The prognosis of a cerebral artery dissection is known to be benign, but the structural changes of vessel wall at follow-up are not well known. The natural course of an intracranial and extracranial artery dissection may differ due to structural differences. We aimed to figure out how stenosis and other wall features change, according to the dissection location.

      Materials and Methods

      We retrospectively enrolled patients who suffered an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack due to a dissection and who had undergone both initial and follow-up high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (HRMRI). Patients were dichotomized to intracranial or extracranial dissection group. The clinical and HRMRI characteristics of two groups were compared. Factors associated with stenosis changes were also investigated.


      A total of 57 patients (intracranial, n = 43; and extracranial, n = 14) were enrolled. The mean age (45.6 vs. 32.2, p < 0.001) was higher and hypertension (37.2% vs. 7.1%, p = 0.04) was more frequent in the intracranial dissection group. In HRMRI analysis, stenosis improvement (27.9% vs. 85.7%, p < 0.001) were more frequent whereas residual wall enhancement (86.0% vs. 46.2%, p = 0.006) and intramural hematoma (62.8% vs. 21.4%, p = 0.007) were less frequent in the extracranial dissection group. Multivariate analysis indicated that extracranial location was the only independent factor (odds ratio 8.98, 95 % confidence interval 1.45-55.65; p = 0.02) associated with stenosis improvement.


      Younger age, stenosis improvement, disappearance of wall enhancement and intramural hematoma were more frequent in an extracranial dissection compared with an intracranial dissection. An extracranial location is independently associated with stenosis improvement in dissection patients.

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