Board Review 2 – Case 19

Neuroradiology board review. This lecture is geared towards the ABR core exam for residents, but it would be useful for review for the ABR certifying exam or certificate of added qualification (CAQ) exam for neuroradiology.

More description and the answer (spoiler!) are seen below the video.

This case shows a trauma patient with disruption of the arch of C1 on a CT of the cervical spine. There are injuries to both the anterior and posterior arch.

After presentation, the patient developed posterior fossa symptoms such as nausea and vertigo

The diagnosis is: Jefferson fracture with vertebral artery injury

A number of fractures in the neck have eponyms, and the Jefferson fracture is when the arch of C1 is fractured. It commonly involves injury to both the anterior and posterior arch, although this isn’t a requirement.

After high energy trauma, it is common to have injury to arteries in the neck, so it is important to consider this if a patient develops new symptoms. This patient had a traumatic wall injury of the left vertebral artery which is demonstrated on a T1 weighted fat saturated image of the neck, which showed T1 hyperintense methemoglobin in the wall.

Traumatic arterial injury is often graded using the Denver grading scale, which is as follows:

  • Grade I – < 25% narrowing
  • Grade II – > 25% narrowing or dissection flap
  • Grade III – pseudoaneurysm
  • Grade IV – occlusion
  • Grade V – transection/active extravasation

Injury can be evaluated with either CTA (more common) or MRA.