Vertebrobasilar dolichoectasia

Case contributed by Dr. Eduardo Torres Olivas


Ground level fall. Complains of a headache and dizziness.

Patient Data

Age: 90 years
Gender: Male

Non-enhanced CT shows an elongated and ectatic basilar artery with prominent co-dominant vertebral arteries. The basilar artery measures up to 9mm in diameter at its proximal segment. Its tip and bifurcation point rise above the suprasellar cistern, abutting the floor of the 3rd ventricle. There is no secondary obstructive hydrocephalus.

There is a small left frontal scalp hematoma.

Case Discussion

Vertebrobasilar dolichoectasia refers to ectatic and elongated vertebral or basilar arteries, it is usually associated with deterioration of the tunica intima, which causes abnormal vessel distention, atheromatosis and low blood flow velocity that may favor ischemic disease.

There are several etiologic mechanism theories that have been proposed, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, congenital factors such as autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease, Fabry disease, Marfan and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, as well as sickle cell anemia, among others.

It is asymptomatic in many cases, but in symptomatic patients, the clinical manifestations can include a wide variety of neurological deficits, including stroke, brainstem compression syndromes, cranial neuropathy and, obstructive hydrocephalus. 

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Case information

rID: 65518
Published: 15th Jan 2019
Last edited: 15th Jan 2019
System: Vascular
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included
Institution: Hospital Angeles Lomas

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