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Case Reports in Medicine
Volume 2010, Article ID 401978, 4 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/401978
Case Report

Fatal Basilar Thrombosis Possibly Related to Minor Cervical Trauma: A Case Report

1Institute of Legal Medicine, University Hospital Center “Mother Theresa”, Rr. Dibres 371, 1005 Tirana, Albania
2Service of Neurology, University Hospital Center “Mother Theresa”, Rr. Dibres 371, 1005 Tirana, Albania

Received 17 April 2010; Revised 21 June 2010; Accepted 17 July 2010

Academic Editor: Richard A. Wennberg

Copyright © 2010 Elmaz Shaqiri et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Background. Basilar thrombosis is a potentially fatal event, whose traumatic etiology has been repeatedly stated. Methods. We performed the autopsy and the microscopic examination of the brain stem structures from an individual, whose sudden death raised logical suspicions regarding the causative factor. Results. The brain was swollen and clearly hyperemic; a massive basilar thrombus with complete occlusion of the median segment of the basilar artery was macroscopically seen. The brainstem showed an infarcted zone in the pons, with secondary hemorrhagic changes, mainly in the form of multiple petechial hemorrhages. Pontine arteries showed extensive alterations, mainly in the form of severed endothelium, which suggested a thrombotic-traumatic mechanism as the main etiological factor. Conclusions. Minor injuries, such as slight whiplashes, abrupt neck movements, neck trauma related to the slowing down of the vehicles, and critical neck positioning, can all of them explain a thrombotic event in the basilar artery, leading to a fatal occurrence. Other risk factors may obviously concur, but their importance seems unclear.