Vertebral artery injury in a patient with fractured C4 vertebra.


Vertebral artery injuries due to cervical spine trauma, although rarely described in the literature, are relatively common. While most of them will remain asymptomatic, a small percentage of patients may suffer life threatening complications. We report a case of the right vertebral artery injury in a patient with fracture of C4 vertebra, successfully treated with endovascular approach. A 78-year-old male patient was hospitalized for cervical spine injury caused by falling off the tractor. Radiological assessment revealed fracture of C4 vertebra with proximal two-thirds of C4 body dislocated five millimeters dorsally. Significant swelling of soft prevertebral tissues distally of C2 segment was also present. During emergency surgery using standard anterior approach for cervical spine, excessive bleeding started from the injured right vertebral artery. Bleeding was stopped by tamponade with oxidized regenerated cellulose sheet and C4-C5 anterior fixation; then partial reduction of displacement was done. Fifteen days later, after angiography, endovascular repair of the right vertebral artery was performed using percutaneous stent graft. Follow up computed tomography scan angiography showed valid stent patency without contrast extravasation. In cases of cervical spine trauma, surgeon should always be prepared to manage injury of vertebral artery. Bleeding can primarily be stopped by hemostatic packing, and definitive repair can be successfully achieved by endovascular approach using percutaneous stent graft.

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@article{Bani2014VertebralAI, title={Vertebral artery injury in a patient with fractured C4 vertebra.}, author={Tihomir Bani{\'c} and Morana Bani{\'c} and Ivan Cvjetko and Nenad Somun and Vide Bili{\'c} and Vinko Vidjak and Vladimir Pavi{\'c} and Ivan Coc and Tomislav Koki{\'c} and Zvonko Kejlal}, journal={Acta clinica Croatica}, year={2014}, volume={53 3}, pages={369-73} }