Analysis of carotid artery injury in patients with basilar skull fractures.
OBJECTIVES: Determine the prevalence of carotid artery injury (CAI) in patients with basilar skull fractures and describe significant demographic and radiographic risk factors for CAI.
STUDY DESIGN: From January 2004 to December 2008, medical records of 1,279 consecutive adult patients treated for basilar skull fractures at a tertiary care academic hospital were retrospectively reviewed. Diagnostic angiography was performed in 112 patients because of concern for CAI. Computed tomographic studies of the head and cranial base were reviewed for evidence of pneumocephalus, petrous carotid canal fractures, and sphenoid bone fractures.
RESULTS: Mean age of patients undergoing angiography was 38.7 years, and 85 patients (75.9%) were male subjects. Thirty-five (50%) of 70 discrete cerebrovascular injuries on angiography involved the carotid canal. The prevalence of CAI in patients with basilar skull trauma was 2.0%. CAI was associated with female sex (p = 0.001), whereas lower Glasgow Coma Scale score approached statistical significance (p = 0.07). Sensitivity and specificity of the 3 computed tomographic findings individually were 44% to 68% and 41% to 67%, respectively. With all 3 findings concurrently, 85% specificity and 80% negative predictive value for CAI were obtained, although sensitivity declined.
CONCLUSION: The frequency of CAI in patients with basilar skull fractures was higher than that in those without basilar skull involvement. Female sex was strongly associated with CAI. The intimate anatomic relationship between the carotid artery and the cranial base posit substantial diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for the contemporary cranial base surgeon, and thus, understanding the epidemiology and risk factors for CAI is of paramount importance.
Published In/Presented At
Sun, G. H., Shoman, N. M., Samy, R. N., & Pensak, M. L. (2011). Analysis of carotid artery injury in patients with basilar skull fractures. Otology & neurotology : official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology, 32(5), 882–886. https://doi.org/10.1097/MAO.0b013e318218cfd6
Medicine and Health Sciences
Department of Surgery