Clinical Characteristics and Mechanisms of Stroke After Polytrauma

Blacker, David J.; Wijdicks, Eelco F.M.
May 2004
Mayo Clinic Proceedings;May2004, Vol. 79 Issue 5, p630
Academic Journal
• Objectives: To describe the clinical characteristics of acute stroke attributable to trauma and to analyze the mechanisms and effect of stroke on outcome in patients with polytrauma. • Patients and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of patients with polytrauma complicated by stroke at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The diagnosis of stroke was matched with trauma for the period between January 1, 1985, and December 31, 2001. Polytrauma was defined as at least 2 injuries that involve at least 1 vital organ (eg, lung or liver) and necessitate patient admission to a trauma intensive care unit. • Results: We identified 14 patients with polytrauma who had experienced a stroke (13 ischemic and 1 hemorrhagic). Craniocervical artery dissection was the most common mechanism (7 patients), and skull or facial fractures were a possible marker for this (5 of 7 patients). There were frequent delays in identifying stroke, with limb fracture on the side of the paresis (5 of 6 patients) being a possible factor. Four patients died of postischemic brain swelling, and 5 had major neurologic impairment. • Conclusions: Stroke after polytrauma is due to various mechanisms, is frequently difficult to recognize early, and profoundly affects patient outcome.


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