BACKGROUND: Vertebral artery dissection lesions tend to resolve spontaneously, but abnormal findings such as aneurysmal dilatation occasionally persist. However, the clinical features and pathological findings in such cases have never been verified. CASE DESCRIPTION: A 62-year- old man presented with left cerebellar infarction. Angiography showed the 'pearl and string sign' in the left vertebral artery, and he was diagnosed as having left vertebral artery dissection. Repeated angiography showed persistent aneurysmal dilatation with irregular stenosis. Eleven years after the cerebellar infarction, the patient presented with a subarachnoid hemorrhage from an aneurysm of the left vertebral artery, and the lesion was explored via the left suboccipital approach. The vertebral artery was firm, making the placement of a clip impossible, so the lesion was treated by coating of the bleeding point. The patient died of pneumonia and hyperglycemia on postoperative day 15. Postmortem examination revealed an organized intramural hematoma, thickening of the intima, and fibrous degeneration of the media of the vertebral artery, a fusiform, distended thin arterial wall with intimal disruption at the aneurysmal dilatation, and arteriosclerosis of all cerebral arteries. CONCLUSION: This case indicates that persistent aneurysmal dilatation of a dissection is a pseudoaneurysm prone to rupture, and that healing of the affected vessels might be severely compromised in the presence of pathological conditions such as arteriosclerosis and disturbed intraluminal blood flow in the dissected lesions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology