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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1129--1130

Aortic Dissection Masquerading as Stroke

Meena Nedunchelian1, Santosh B Patil1, E Senthil Kumar2, Shriram Varadharajan1,  
1 Department of Radiology, KMCH, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Consultant Neurologist, KMCH, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Shriram Varadharajan
Consultant Neuro-Radiologist, Department of Imaging Sciences and Interventional Radiology, KMCH, Coimbatore - 641 014, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Nedunchelian M, Patil SB, Kumar E S, Varadharajan S. Aortic Dissection Masquerading as Stroke.Neurol India 2021;69:1129-1130

How to cite this URL:
Nedunchelian M, Patil SB, Kumar E S, Varadharajan S. Aortic Dissection Masquerading as Stroke. Neurol India [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Oct 16 ];69:1129-1130
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Full Text

Aortic dissection can easily be missed in patients presenting with neurological symptoms. Transient or permanent neurological symptoms at onset of aortic dissection are seen in 17–40% of the patients and often mask the underlying condition.[1],[2] However, these patients may present with initial symptoms of referred pain of aortic origin giving a potential clue to the diagnosis. Pain of cardiac and aortic origin may radiate to neck, jaw, tooth, arm, and shoulder due to the fact that cardiac visceral afferent fibers and sensory neurons that innervate these areas have a common origin in the spinal dorsal horn. Another cause of referred pain might be stimulation of recurrent branches of vagus nerve around the aortic arch.[3] We present a middle-aged male who presented with abrupt onset of jaw pain and decreased consciousness followed by seizures. Initial MRI with MRA [Figure 1]a, [Figure 1]b, [Figure 1]c, [Figure 1]d showed scattered bilateral juxta cortical infarcts with involvement of bilateral watershed zones and eccentric wall thickening of aortic arch with suspicious intimal flap extending into right common carotid artery while also showing eccentric thickening (intramural hematoma) along left common carotid artery. Subsequent color doppler USG and CT Angiogram confirmed type A aortic dissection extending into bilateral carotid vessels. Patient worsened clinically within next few days and follow up MRI showed severe progressive bilateral infarcts [Figure 1]e, [Figure 1]f, [Figure 1]g, [Figure 1]h. Patient eventually expired on day 4 following stroke due to cardiac arrest and could not be resuscitated. Learning points from this are the possibility of dissection in patients presenting with vague chest discomfort or referred pain at various sites at onset of stroke and multi-territorial infarcts including involvement of unilateral or often bilateral watershed regions on imaging. We need to obtain complete vascular imaging covering aortic arch in such patients to look for intimal flaps or eccentric thickening (intramural hematoma). Thus imaging findings in MRI including DWI[4] and non-contrast MRA can provide clues to underlying dissection[5] while additional contrast based vascular imaging (CT angiography) covering aortic arch to vertex is used to confirm the diagnosis.{Figure 1}

Summarizing clinical and imaging clues for dissection in patients presenting with stroke are:

Referred pain of cardiogenic/aortic origin at onset including chest, neck, jaw, or tooth pain.Multi territorial juxta cortical infarcts in MRI with involvement of watershed regions.Intimal flap and eccentric wall thickening (intramural hematoma) on vascular imaging.Progressive infarcts on follow up imaging with deteriorating clinical course.

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