Dolichoectasiag-an evolving arterial disease

Jose Gutierrez, Ralph L. Sacco, Clinton B. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Dolichoectasia is an arterial disease that causes dilatation and/or tortuosity of the affected vessel. The prevalence of dolichoectasia increases with age, and this disease is also associated with other traditional cardiovascular risk factors. Multiple pathophysiological processes might lead to the development of dolichoectatic vessels, and activation of metalloproteinases and irregular turbulent blood flow seem to cause irreversible disruption of the internal elastic lamina. Intracranial dolichoectasia commonly presents with ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, and/or cranial neuropathies. The posterior circulation is more frequently affected by the dolichoectatic process than the anterior circulation. A positive diagnosis of dolichoectasia requires visual assessment of vessel shape and, if the posterior circulation is affected, application of Smoker's criteria. Reproducible criteria that aid diagnosis of dolichoectasia in the anterior circulation are lacking. No specific treatment for dolichoectasia exists, and the surgical and medical therapies that have been used to treat this condition have not been systematically evaluated. More evidence is needed to better understand the underlying dilatatory artheriopathy that causes this disease, and to determine whether patients with dolichoectasia might benefit from early diagnosis. In this article, we provide a comprehensive review of current knowledge regarding dolichoectasia, and highlight gaps in our knowledge to aid future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalNature Reviews Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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