BACKGROUND: Spontaneous carotid artery dissections have been rarely reported in children. Diagnosis has traditionally been confirmed by catheter arteriography. More recently diagnosis has been made by magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance angiography; however the sensitivity of these techniques has yet to be determined. The authors are unaware of reports of carotid dissection confirmed by dynamic computed tomography (computerized tomographic arteriography) in the young.

CASE PRESENTATION: We recently evaluated a fourteen year-old male following the development of transient neurologic symptoms. There was no antecedent illness or trauma. Dynamic computed tomography revealed an intracranial dissection involving the supraclinoid segment of the left internal carotid artery (confirmed by catheter arteriography). Studies for vasculitis, pro-thrombotic states, and defects of collagen were negative.

CONCLUSION: Spontaneous carotid artery dissection is a potential cause of transient neurological symptoms and ischemic stroke in the pediatric population. Dynamic computed tomography appears to be a reliable diagnostic tool which can lead to early diagnosis.

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Published in BMC Neurology, v. 6, 16.

© 2006 Robertson and Given; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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