Isolated middle cerebral artery dissection: a systematic review

Ganesh Asaithambi, Pradeepan Saravanapavan, Vaibhav Rastogi, Sheema Khan, Sharatchandra Bidari, Anna Y. Khanna, Latha Ganti, Adnan I. Qureshi, Vishnumurthy Shushrutha Hedna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Acute stroke can be missed in the emergency department, particularly in younger patients and in those with more vague symptoms such as headache or dizziness. Cervicocephalic dissections are one group of etiologies for acute stroke in the young. While cervicocephalic dissections are not uncommon in clinical practice, isolated middle cerebral artery dissection (MCAD) has been rarely reported as a cause for stroke. We sought to review the clinical implications and pathophysiology of an isolated MCAD. We searched the medical literature for isolated MCAD in clinical stroke patients using MEDLINE, HighWire, and Google Scholar databases from 1966 to 2013 using the keywords ‘middle cerebral artery dissection,’ ‘intracerebral artery dissection,’ and ‘middle cerebral artery dissection stroke.’ We reviewed cases to learn various characteristics of isolated MCAD. A total of 61 cases (62.3% male, mean age 44.16 ± 19.17 years) were reviewed from 54 publications. Most cases were reported from Asian countries (78.7%). Ischemic strokes were more common than hemorrhagic strokes (68.9%). Digital subtraction angiography was the most common imaging modality used to diagnose isolated MCAD (75.4%). Surgery was the preferred form of therapeutic intervention (39.3%). Males (n = 27/48, p = 0.0008) and those who presented with only ischemic syndromes (n = 22/48, p = 0.0009) had significantly higher rates of favorable outcome. Isolated MCAD is a rare disease that can contribute to the stroke burden of young patients. Further studies are needed to better characterize optimal treatment strategies and define outcomes for this rare condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number44
JournalInternational Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Asaithambi et al.; licensee Springer.


  • Dissection
  • Intracranial
  • Middle cerebral artery
  • Stroke


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