Carotid artery dissection occurs as a result of a tear in one of the carotid arteries of the neck. Blood under arterial pressure then enters the wall of the artery. Pressure and blood flow split the layers of the artery, which results in an intramural hematoma.

The causes of internal carotid artery dissection vary. However, in many cases a combination of factors leads to the condition. Trauma, blunt injury, and other mechanical forces have been identified as contributing factors along with underlying arterial disease. Carotid artery dissection is widely accepted as a multifactorial disease.

Pain is a common compliant of patients that present with carotid artery dissection. Patients may also present with headache, loss of vision, partial Horner syndrome, neck swelling, and pulsatile tinnitus. Follow-up test must be performed to confirm a diagnosis of carotid artery dissection. Advanced imaging techniques must be utilized to verify the presence of dissection to diagnose the condition. Patient outcomes improve with early diagnosis.

Antithrombotic treatments, which reduce the formation of blood clots, are commonly utilized in courses of treatment for carotid artery dissection. Post treatment requires routine follow-up appointments and imagining technology to monitor both carotid arteries.



1 Zohrabian, D. and Brenner B. (2016, December 14). Carotid Artery Dissection. Retrieved from

2 M Arnold, R Cumurciuc, C Stapf, P Favrole, K Berthet, M‐G Bousser. (2006, September). Pain as the Only Symptom of Cervical Artery Dissection. Retrieved from The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, & Psychiatry.   

3 Zohrabian, D. and Brenner B. (2016, December 14). Carotid Artery Dissection Clinical Presentation. Retrieved from

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