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Concept: Vertebral artery


BACKGROUND: Takayasu arteritis is a large vessel vasculitis occurring in young females. We report a rare presentation of Takayasu arteritis in a Sri Lankan woman. She presented with bronchiectasis and left recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy prior to the onset of vascular symptoms. This case illustrates an atypical presentation of this disease and the diagnostic dilemma that the physician may be faced with. CASE PRESENTATION: A 39-year-old woman presented with chronic cough, haemoptysis and hoarseness of voice. She had left recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy and high inflammatory markers on investigation. CT thorax revealed aortic wall thickening and traction bronchiectasis. 2 D echocardiogram revealed grade 1 aortic regurgitation compatible with aortitis. She did not have weak peripheral pulses or a blood pressure discrepancy and did not meet American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria for diagnosis of Takayasu arteritis at this stage. Tuberculosis, syphilis and sarcoidosis was excluded. While awaiting angiography, she developed left arm claudication and a pericardial effusion. Angiography revealed evidence of Takayasu arteritis and absence of flow in the left subclavian artery. Takayasu arteritis was diagnosed at this stage after a period of eight months from the onset of initial symptoms. She is currently on prednisolone, azathioprine and aspirin. CONCLUSION: Bronchiectasis and recurrent laryngeal nerve palsy is a rare presentation of Takayasu arteritis. Atypical presentations can occur in Takayasu arteritis prior to the onset of vascular symptoms. Elevation of inflammatory markers are an early finding. A high degree of suspicion is needed to identify these patients in the early course of the disease.

Concepts: Cardiology, Common carotid artery, Brachiocephalic artery, Subclavian vein, Vertebral artery, Subclavian artery


A 36-year old woman presented with a 5-year history of progressive dysphagia. The barium swallow of the oesophagus revealed an oblique extrinsic defect consistent with an aberrant right subclavian artery. A computed tomography angiogram confirmed the diagnosis. Surgical correction is indicated for dysphagia lusoria in association with an aberrant right subclavian artery. The patient underwent surgical repair through the right supraclavicular approach, which provided a good exposure. We describe the use of this approach, which avoids the possible complications of thoracotomy or sternotomy in the surgical management of dysphagia lusoria.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Common carotid artery, Brachiocephalic artery, Subclavian vein, Vertebral artery, Subclavian artery, Aberrant subclavian artery


To evaluate the incidence and predictors of ischaemic recurrent stroke and the adverse events of antithrombotic therapy in patients with first intra- or extracranial vertebral artery dissection (VAD) who were treated with aspirin or oral anticoagulation (OA).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Stroke, Thrombosis, Warfarin, Aspirin, Vertebral artery dissection, Vertebral artery


We present a 16-year-old male patient with Marfan’s syndrome who presented with quadriparesis from a Type I Chiari malformation (CM) with basilar invagination and a syrinx. The condition resolved after transoral odontoidectomy and occipitocervical fusion without posterior decompression of the CM. Thus, ventral decompression alone can resolve a cervical syrinx in patients with compression of the foramen magnum.

Concepts: Syndromes, Vertebral artery, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Arnold-Chiari malformation, Syringomyelia


Aberrant right subclavian artery (ARSA) is an uncommon congenital anomaly that often becomes aneurysmal. The ARSAs are often asymptomatic but aneurysms arising in this location are potentially lethal. Due to the high morbidity and mortality rates associated with the traditional open repair methods, less invasive endovascular methods are becoming more popular. This is a case describing a unique hybrid repair of an aneurysmal ARSA in an asymptomatic male.

Concepts: Common carotid artery, Brachiocephalic artery, Subclavian vein, Vertebral artery, Subclavian artery, Aberrant subclavian artery


BACKGROUND:: Treatment of complex intracranial aneurysms with the pipeline embolization device (PED) has become common practice in neurovascular centers. Very few studies have assessed the safety and efficacy of PED treatment for posterior circulation aneurysms. OBJECTIVE:: To retrospectively present our experience with use of the PED in the posterior circulation. METHODS:: A total of 7 patients harboring 7 posterior circulation aneurysms were treated with the PED at our institution between November 2011 and July 2012. RESULTS:: Aneurysm size was 14.1 mm on average. All patients had unruptured aneurysms. Three aneurysms arose from the vertebral artery, 2 from the basilar artery, and 2 from the vertebrobasilar junction. A single stent was used in 4 patients, 2 stents in 2 patients, and 3 stents in 1 patient. Treatment was successful in all 7 patients. No procedural complications or perforator infarcts were noted in the series. No patient experienced new neurological symptoms related to PED treatment during the follow-up period. Angiographic follow-up was available for 6 patients at a mean time point of 5.5 months. Follow-up angiography showed 100% aneurysm occlusion in 3 patients, marked decrease in aneurysm size in 2 patients, and no change in 1 patient. CONCLUSION:: In our initial experience, it appears that PED treatment in select patients with vertebrobasilar aneurysms may have a reasonable safety-efficacy profile. Larger studies are needed to confirm our findings.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Atheroma, Stent, Radiology, Aneurysm, Vertebral artery, Circle of Willis, Basilar artery


Disruption or embryologic derailment of the normal bony architecture of the craniovertebral junction (CVJ) may result in symptoms. As studies of the embryology and pathology of hypoplasia of the occipital condyles and third occipital condyles are lacking in the literature, the present review was performed. Standard search engines were accessed and queried for publications regarding hypoplastic occipital condyles and third occipital condyles. The literature supports the notion that occipital condyle hypoplasia and a third occipital condyle are due to malformation or persistence of the proatlas, respectively. The Pax-1 gene is most likely involved in this process. Clinically, condylar hypoplasia may narrow the foramen magnum and lead to lateral medullary compression. Additionally, this maldevelopment can result in transient vertebral artery compression secondary to posterior subluxation of the occiput. Third occipital condyles have been associated with cervical canal stenosis, hypoplasia of the dens, transverse ligament laxity, and atlanto-axial instability causing acute and chronic spinal cord compression. Treatment goals are focused on craniovertebral stability. A better understanding of the embryology and pathology related to CVJ anomalies is useful to the clinician treating patients presenting with these entities. Clin. Anat., 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Concepts: Medical terms, Vertebral column, Skull, Normal distribution, Vertebral artery, Occipital bone, Medulla oblongata, Foramen magnum


In India, Atlantoaxial dislocation (AAD) is the commonest skeletal craniovertebral junction (CVJ) anomaly, followed by occipitalisation of atlas and basilar invagination. The usual presentation is progressive neurological deficit (76-95% cases) involving the high cervical cord, lower brainstem and cranial nerves. The association between vertebro-basilar insufficiency and skeletal CVJ anomalies is well recognised and angiographic abnormalities of the vertebrobasilar arteries and their branches have been reported; however, initial presentation of CVJ anomaly as thalamic syndrome due to posterior circulation stroke is extremely rare. Here, we report one such rare case of thalamic syndrome as the initial presentation of CVJ anomaly with AAD.

Concepts: Atherosclerosis, Report, Cranial nerves, Asperger syndrome, Case, Anomaly, Vertebral artery, Progressive revelation


The vertebral artery (VA) bilaterally arises usually from the subclavian artery and courses within the bony canals of cervical vertebrae, and then it reverses directions on the first vertebra before piercing the dura to enter the cranium.The aim was to follow (ab)normal developmental changes of extracranial VA from prenatal status to age 21. This chapter included a brief description of the arterial embryology and morphofunctional specificity of the VA in prevertebral, cervical, and atlantic parts, during prenatal and postnatal period.The authors concluded that the subclavian origin of the VA was in most of fetal and adult cases. The incidences of variable VA origins and domination of one of the VAs were different from one series of human specimens to the second one. Although in most of cases, anomalous origin and/or variable course of the extracranial VA had little or did not result in clinical symptoms in infants and young adults, the true value of their discovery is in the diagnostic gain before vascular surgery of supra-aortic arteries.

Concepts: Vertebral column, Cervical vertebrae, Vertebral artery, Subclavian artery


One of the roles of forensic anthropology is the identification of skeletal remains and over the years many methods have been developed to obtain specific details of a corpse such as an estimation of age and height. The femur and tibia are ideal for this purpose but unfortunately they are often missing or badly fragmented. For this reason, in this present study, we used the smaller bones of the first and second cervical vertebrae, which are often better preserved than the long bones. Direct measurement of these bones has been found to be misleading, largely due to the remains of a covering of soft tissue, and to overcome this all measurements were taken from tomographic images. The aim of this study is to provide an auxiliary diagnostic method to evaluate the association of different anthropometric measurements taken with tomographic imagery of both the first cervical and second cervical vertebra with body height within a sample of the Spanish population. Measurements were taken from tomographic images taken with a dental CT of 203 healthy individuals from a Spanish population. The best correlation was obtained in the case of unknown sex using four measurements: two of the first cervical vertebra and two of the second vertebra using the following regression formula S=49.02+1.02O+1.58DO+0.49V+0.67I. All formulae provided statistically significant results and can be applied to any skeletal remains belonging to a Spanish population.

Concepts: Statistics, Vertebral column, Vertebra, Bones of the torso, Cervical vertebrae, Vertebral artery, Axis, Vertebral foramen