The Biffl scale or grade illustrates the spectrum of blunt cerebrovascular injury (BCVI) seen on angiography (both CTA and DSA). Some authors refer to the grading scale as the Denver scale, which is not to be confused with the Denver criteria, a series of clinical indications and risk factors for BCVI.
- grade I: mild intimal injury or irregular intima
- grade II: dissection with raised intimal flap / intramural haematoma with luminal narrowing >25% / intraluminal thrombosis
- grade III: pseudoaneurysm
- grade IV: vessel occlusion/thrombosis
- grade V: vessel transection
Treatment and prognosis
This grading system has prognostic and therapeutic implications. Stroke risk increases with injury grade and therefore the lower the grade, the better the prognosis 1.
- grade I: heals regardless of therapy
- grade II: 70% of dissections or haematomas with luminal stenosis progress while on heparin therapy
- grade III: only ~8% of pseudoaneurysms heal with heparin and ~90% resolve after stenting
- grade IV: occluded carotid arteries do not recanalise in the early post-injury period
- grade V: transections are lethal and refractory to therapy