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Case Reports in Neurological Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 398261, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2015/398261
Case Report

Resolution of Internal Carotid Dissection with Middle Cerebral Artery Occlusion in Pregnancy

1Stroke Program, Department of Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
2Section of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA

Received 7 January 2015; Accepted 19 March 2015

Academic Editor: Jacqueline A. Pettersen

Copyright © 2015 Nicole Ulrich 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

Introduction. Cervical artery dissection (CAD) is a common cause of stroke in younger patients. While the incidence of stroke in pregnancy is increasing, CAD remains a rare cause of ischemic stroke in the pregnant population, with only 30 cases described in the literature, most in the postpartum period. Methods. The case of a pregnant patient at 18 weeks of gestation presenting with CAD and ischemic stroke following intercourse is discussed. Discussion. CAD results from an intimal tear in the carotid artery, allowing accumulation of blood in the vessel wall. Stroke results from embolization of thrombogenic material in the wall. Etiology includes minor trauma, connective tissue disorders, or anatomic variations of the carotid artery. Most patients present with headache and/or neck pain, while ischemic symptoms are seen in at least 50% of patients. In the pregnant population, imaging with MRI or MRA of the head and neck aids in diagnosis. Once the diagnosis is made, patients are treated with either anticoagulation or antiplatelet medications. The optimal treatment in both pregnant and nonpregnant patients has not been well-studied. Conclusion. CAD is an important diagnosis to consider in a pregnant patient with persistent headache, especially if neurological symptoms are present. Imaging should be quickly obtained so treatment can be initiated.