Noninvasive detection of vertebral artery dissection

Michael Hoffmann, Ralph L. Sacco, Stephen Chan, J. P. Mohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: We sought to identify the use of duplex and transcranial Doppler sonography in the noninvasive diagnosis of vertebral dissection. Methods: Ten patients with a diagnosis of symptomatic vertebral artery dissection confirmed by cerebral angiography were retrospectively analyzed. Results: Computed tomographic scanning and magnetic resonance imaging together delineated lateral medullary or cerebellar infarcts in 7 patients. Angiography documented a total of 21 vertebral artery lesions (16 stenoses and 5 occlusions), with 7 of 10 patients having multiple sites of vertebral artery dissection. Vertebral Doppler was abnormal in 8 of the 10 patients. A high resistance signal in the relevant vertebral artery was found in 6 patients, no flow in a well-imaged vertebral artery in 1, and bilateral retrograde vertebral artery flow in 1 patient. Transcranial Doppler was abnormal in only 2 patients, with reduced pulsatility index in 1 and high resistance vertebral signal in another. A hyperintense intramural signal of the affected vertebral artery by magnetic resonance imaging was documented in 1 patient in whom Doppler sonography was nondiagnostic. Conclusions: Vertebral artery dissection can be detected and monitored by noninvasive vertebral Doppler and magnetic resonance imaging in the setting of a clinically suggestive presentation. (Stroke 1993;24:815-819).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-827
Number of pages13
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Ultrasonics
  • Vertebral artery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neuroscience(all)


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