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<< Cervical Artery Dissection: Early Recognition and Stroke Prevention (Stroke CME, Trauma CME and Pharmacology CME)

Introduction

Although a cervical artery dissection is rarely seen in the emergency department (ED), it can have devastating consequences if it is not recognized. The incidence of spontaneous dissection is only approxi¬mately 2 to 3 in 100,000 people per year, with carotid dissections more common (1.7 in 100,000) than vertebral artery dissections (0.97 in 100,000 people). Traumatic dissections occur in approximately 1 in every 1000 trauma patients;1 however, they cause approximately 2% of strokes in all ages and up to 20% of strokes in patients aged < 45 years.2-7 Given the subtlety of symptoms in many patients, the diag nosis is often delayed until irreversible neurological injury has occurred.

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