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Interior Carotid Artery Dissection--Who Knows Their Stuff?
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This forum is for questions and support regarding neurology issues such as: Alzheimer's Disease, ALS, Autism, Brain Cancer, Cerebral Palsy, Chronic Pain, Epilepsy, Headaches, MS, Neuralgia, Neuropathy, Parkinson's Disease, RSD, Sleep Disorders, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury.

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Avatar_n_tn
Unfortunately, you can't post email addys on here. Get creative in how you list it (name atsymbol name dotcom) or people will have to contact you directly on here. I think your documentary idea is awesome! Luckily, I did not have a stroke with my iCAD, but so many of us did! You should also be aware of another poster here (Karin Linner, iCAD) who is working on a documentary about stroke. Google "Pedal Stroke On the road to recovery, discovery, and change." Glad to see the word getting out!
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Avatar_m_tn
thanks for answering... Anyone who is interested can send me a message on  med help.  
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi CADfilm,

I tried to message this, but it was too long I guess.  I just wanted to say that I would love to be a part of a film about CAD to get the word out that young people can have strokes too!  I waited almost 12 hours to go to the hospital because I had no idea my symptoms indicated a stroke (aphasia, unable to walk, use hands, numbness).  My CAD related stroke happened almost three years ago at the age of 29 while I was training for a marathon; I thought my inability to walk was due to severe dehydration.  My stroke was luckily mild and left me only with a bum hand that is unable to really feel or sense hot/cold.  I was very blessed.  

My brother suffered a CAD stroke 5 months later at the age of 36.  His stroke was, unfortunately, far more severe and life-threatening, but he has made almost a full recovery.  Absolutely amazing what the brain can accomplish.  No genetic disorder, FMD, Ehlers-danlos is known, but some genetic link obviously exists.  I can't speak for my brother, but I would be happy to be part of the film.

As an aside, my biggest sadness post-CAD was the thought that I may never be able to have children because of the risk of reoccurance and the strain of labor.  I just gave birth to a healthy baby boy 3 months ago, reaffirming that life can go on after a stroke.  If you have any interest in using my story, I can be reached through medhelp or a reneeaimee_sells at hotmail dotcom.  

Best of luck with your film!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi. I had my first CAD in 3/2002 which resulted in a stroke. Had the second CAD 5 years later, also Horners Syndrome.  Was 40 when had the first one. Turning 50 in 2 weeks. Would love to contribute to the film, would also love to see it. been on coumadin for 5 years. want to get off. Don't know why had CAD, connective tissue? Had my kids hearts tested since connective tissue disorder can affect that. Son fine, my daughter had a small hole in hers, but watching to see if closed.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 43 yr old male who trained in martial arts 3-4 times a week, was physically active all weekend, and was the strongest and fittest I have ever been in my life. I don't smoke and drink occasionally.

8 weeks ago I woke up with a sore ear. I went to the doctors and his first question was "do you want a medical certificate?" After looking at my ear for 3 seconds he said it all looks fine so I went home.

The pain continued to worsen during the day and spread to my jaw, top of my head, and I also had facial numbness. I started taking nurforen plus and the pain was bearable. I went to the chiropractor on day 3 thinking I had a pinched nerve but the pain continued, I went to an acupuncturist on day 5 but the pain continued, I went to an eastern orthopaedic specialist of day 8 and he said with great concern to go to the doctors. That night I paid to go to a private hospital and the doctor said "come back tomorrow and see how you feel". I insisted on a CT scan thinking I had a bulged disc. He continued to make noise and fuss but my insistence meant that I had the scan a few hours later. The doctor returned a little later with his tail between his legs and said "we have called an ambulance and sending you to the Royal Melbourne Emergence Stroke ward". I asked him if he was glad that I insisted on the scan - he didn't respond.

On day 9 I was at the hospital, I had been diagnosed with a Carotid Artery Dissection which had occluded. I have learnt that means that I had torn the inner part of the carotid artery and the the artery had closed off. Thankfully, the circle of willis meant that my brain was supplied blood from other arteries.
Also, I was fortunate to not have a stroke.

After several days of laying in the hospital and being checked and prodded every 4 hours I said "send me home". I went home with a bag full medication including warfarin, oxycontin, and mobic

I have a great employer and they supported my working from home for a few weeks and then returning to work 3 days a week.

3 days ago I was returning from lunch and felt a sensation in the side of my neck; at the artery location. I sat in the chair for about 5 minutes and some of the pain points returned. I went to my GP who immediately rang the hospital and asked their advice. They sent me off for a contrasted CT scan and the results were great news.

** The dissection is no longer visible and the occlusion is gone !!

I am still advised to take it easy for a while whilst the artery continues to heal. I still have some minor pain and from what I am learning it's related to the connected nerves.

I wanted to share some tips and advice from this experience to help others that are experiencing this:

1. You know your body better than anyone else so if you are not happy with an answer from a doctor then insist or go to another doctor.

2. The doctors don't know a lot about this but don't be mad at them. They really are doing the best they can with what they know.

3. Buy an medical alert bracelet, I got a sports band cause it suited my style. It made me feel better than if something happened outside of the home people would know what medication I am on.

4. I took an anti-depressant because this is a immediate life changing injury and it takes a while to get used to the idea. Don't feel like it's bad to ask for something to help get through the period.

5. Take it easy and realise that you have an injury. Because it's not a visible injury you sometimes forget. You would let a broken leg heal, do the same thing for this.

And finally, remember that many people have had the same experience and, as you'll see from this forum, life will continue and this too will pass. I won't return to martial arts which is sad but I will continue to live my life with zest and find other challenges that don't put the same pressures on my neck.

I hope these words bring some comfort to you as I also found from reading about others.

Best Wishes,
Craig
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Avatar_m_tn
I also had that feeling above my eye. Felt like little knots and sent searing paining through my brain. WEirdest feeling ever
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Avatar_m_tn
FB page is up. Helpful too. <ay be under Reoccuring Carotid Aretery Dissection
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Avatar_f_tn
I know this was written in 2009, however I am coming across it online now and I am curious to find out how you are doing now.  And for anyone else who may have commented. I was diagnosed 3 months after they think it occurred when my 3 yr old son jumped up in a full force tantrum, hitting the bottom of my chin giving me whip lash.  They tell me not to over exert or strain...but things likne bending over or pulling laundry from the washer is so painful.  Also, they have me on plavix and aspirin and in 4 months of the treatment ive had no changes...it isn't healing...so I don't know if it is cuz I'm not able to rest with 2 little kids or if it is from the med choice from my docs..I keep reading how people are on coumadin.  How long did it take for everyone to heal?  How did you deal with people who think you are being over protective or "dragging this out"?  I hope all is well with everyone and I hope this somehow links to an active email....thank you:)
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Avatar_m_tn
Listen to your body and not what everyone else is telling you!  Unfortunately, depending on where the dissection is located, for some people, it can be a painful, severe headache-causing injury and recovery.  For others, the only symptom is stroke.  Take care of yourself during the recovery as much as you can with kids.  I found that the one year mark was big for both my brother and I's recovery, but the two year mark was really the key to healing nside and out.  I know that sounds super daunting, but try to take hope in the fact that so many of us HAVE recovered and gone on with life.  Trust your body, be gentle with yourself, and you will find healing.  

As for the medication, I have never heard of a link between the type of blood thinner used and pain levels.  Coumadin causes a whole host of  its own issues, including regular blood tests, which wouldnt be fun with little kids to watch over.  But you shuld discuss your options with your doctor and if you dont like his or her answer, get a new one!  This condition is rare enough, that you ma have to do some work to find someone who knows what is going on.  If the pain is severe enough to interfere with your life, many people on here and on FB  discuss their pain management choices and medications.  I found that lowering my stress level and not clenching my jaw, neck and shoulders worked wonders for me.  My brother needed migraine medicine, physical therapy and yes, acupuncture.  Everyone is unique.  Listen to what YOUR body is saying.  
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Avatar_m_tn
It is New Years Eve and I am just back from the hospital where my 45 year old husband is in ICU due to problems related to CAD. About 4 weeks ago he was at the gym and he noticed in the mirror that one pupil was less dilated than the other and that his face was drooping a bit near the right eye. He asked me what I thought about his weird symptoms that evening. I told him to call his doctor and he was told to go to the ER. That evening they did an MRI and CT and did not find anything alarming and diagnosed him with Horner's Syndrome and told him to follow up with his primary doctor in a week or so. Following his ER visit he began to have headaches and a general uneasiness. His primary care doctor ordered another MRI, I am guessing it was a more thorough one, and that is when they discovered CAD on his right side. He was immediately sent to the ER again and then admitted to the hospital for about 4 days until his blood thinner was squared away.
While he was in the hospital he began to complain about pain in his right ear and tingling headaches. He was sent home. He seemed to be doing ok. His coumadin readings were normal. About a week later he began to feel awful and began having insomnia and headaches that would not go away. He was sent back to the ER where he had another MRI and CT and it was determined he was fine and the CAD had not worsened and he did not have signs of stroke.
Well, his symptoms continued. Bad headaches, no sleep, lethargic and just not feeling himself. Also, he began to have high blood pressure. Then, he got a high coumadin read (7). Yesterday, we went back to the ER for the 4th time. Another CT and they found CAD on the left side as well. The doctors are at a loss to explain this. They want to do an angio but have to wait until his coumadin is under control. He is still having bad headaches and a general uneasiness. I know I am leaving out many details but this has been a vary long, scary, and frustrating journey. I am happy to read the other posts on here. It gives me hope that we will find an answer and some form of treatment that will allow my husband to live an active and pain-free life. If you have every heard of anyone with CAD on both arteries, high-blood pressure, and headaches that are difficult to treat I'd like to hear from you. I'd also like to know what kinds of pain relief people are using. This has been the most challenging symptom to deal with so far. Thank you. Sorry for the long post and a Happy New Year to you all.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been following this blog since my own CAD that happened 9/30/11 and have not posted anything before. I unfortunely know how scary this is.  I had CAD on my right side and during all of the tests CT, CT-A, MRI, Angiogram they found that my left side also looked abnormal and appeared to have been damaged at some point in the past also. They have since figured out that I have FMD or another genetic disorder that could be the cause of the CAD. Talk to the doctors about the possibilty of FMD since it is not common for both sides to be affected. Also insist that they look at his renal arteries to see what is happening with those. High BP can be a symptom of FMD in the renal arteries. I was in the ICU for 8 days and 5 on a regular floor when I had my CAD. The headaches were excruciating but they DO get better as time goes by. I am about 8 weeks post dissection and still get the headaches but they are less severe. I was taking Percocet everyday for the pain when I got home from the hospital and now only take 1 a day with a Tylenol at bedtime. The headaches seem to be worse in the mornings and late at night. Keep doing research and asking questions to the doctors. The anxiety and lack of sleep I think is common for all of us when this first happens. I have just come to realize that I can not stress about the things I can not change. The stress and anxiety seem to increase the headaches and make them more intense. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been following this blog since my own CAD that happened 9/30/11 and have not posted anything before. I unfortunely know how scary this is.  I had CAD on my right side and during all of the tests CT, CT-A, MRI, Angiogram they found that my left side also looked abnormal and appeared to have been damaged at some point in the past also. They have since figured out that I have FMD or another genetic disorder that could be the cause of the CAD. Talk to the doctors about the possibilty of FMD since it is not common for both sides to be affected. Also insist that they look at his renal arteries to see what is happening with those. High BP can be a symptom of FMD in the renal arteries. I was in the ICU for 8 days and 5 on a regular floor when I had my CAD. The headaches were excruciating but they DO get better as time goes by. I am about 8 weeks post dissection and still get the headaches but they are less severe. I was taking Percocet everyday for the pain when I got home from the hospital and now only take 1 a day with a Tylenol at bedtime. The headaches seem to be worse in the mornings and late at night. Keep doing research and asking questions to the doctors. The anxiety and lack of sleep I think is common for all of us when this first happens. I have just come to realize that I can not stress about the things I can not change. The stress and anxiety seem to increase the headaches and make them more intense. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Avatar_m_tn
Tough this is. I suffered my CAD 5 months ago and have been 'normal' ever since. 90% of all my symptoms are psychological, but the 10% are relevant and should be recorded. Usually keeping a log with heart rate and blood pressure has helped me to understand what triggers headaches or other symptoms. Anxiety is probably the toughest one, but focus on what belagoc says, don't sweat what you can't change. Only sweat what you can, which is your diet, sleep, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.

Take it easy, he should be fine if he takes care of himself. The largest risk right now is a pseudo-aneurysm or aneurysm. No heavy lifting or high-impact exercise until they remove him from coumadin and then no heavy lifting whatsoever!!. Daily aspirin regimen (325mg) for the rest of his life is probably a good idea and eats lots of onion, citric fruit and limit red meat.

Read and Live by: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D.
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Avatar_m_tn
First of all - this is the most useful information I have come across since my wife was diagnosed with CAD 3 months ago.  Very similar story - active 38 yr old woman that was running 3x a week and doing light lifting 1-2 days a week.  Began to experience numbness/tingling/loss of strength in right arm.  Doctors did MRI/MRA/CT and diagnosed the CAD in left artery.  She recently had a follow up scan and it had not healed at all (pseudoaneurysm still present).  She has experienced no strokes, she still has moderate to severe headaches.  The doctors have given her the options of "taking it easy" for a while and recheck in a year or do what they referred to as a coil procedure.  
I have a couple of questions that I wanted to see if anyone could speak to...  I have not seen this coil option mentioned anywhere so does anybody have any information on it or discussed it with their doctors?  Secondly -  My wife started out on Plavix - Aspirin - Topomax (topamax)(for Migraines).  About a month into treatment - She began developing a rash and would break out into hives from time to time and itch uncontrollably.  Long story short - she is off of the Plavix and only takes the aspirin and topomax (topamax) and the hives are somewhat under control.  Still gets spots every day, but she is managing with the two medications listed above and daily Zyrtec.  Just wondering if anybody else has battled this...  I had not seen it mentioned.  Thanks in advance for any advice or information you might have!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello
I just suffered an right internal carotid artery dissection which caused me to have a stroke!!!! Im thirty two active female and mother of two. I feel very lost and cant seem to get any answer for all these questions I Ihave. The doctors have no reason that this has happen to me except the case being "spontaneous". I was in the hospital for a week and was treated with hepharin and injections. Im now home taking coumadin trying to get therapeutic and have also giving myself the shots at night. I was told to watch my vitamin k intake and canot exercise. This is all killing me i normally work out 4 to 5 days a week and eat rather healthy! How long was it before you could resume exercise? and how long did it take for your artery to heal? sorry for the long message just trying to get any info and insight I can. Im very depressed and confused just trying to get life back to normal any reply would be greatly appreciated!
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Avatar_f_tn
Hello
Im so glad I found this forum the post above is mine not sure how it got under this forum i responded to someone in another forum o-well newbie! anyway I just wanted to share my story and see if i can get any advice and insight. I had a terrible headache with sharp pain on my right side of my face as well as orbital pain. prior to this night i had ear pain and occassional dizziness I always just thought it was my sinuses I have bad allergies and have chronic sinus issues. I went to sleep and woke up in the morning throwing up and had left sided numbness in my arm and hand I did not have  any sensation in my left hand and felt dizzy and just not myself.
My husband rushed me to the er where they did a ct scan and found a embolus on my right frontal cerebral cortex. I was told i had a stroke and was admitted to the hospital!!!!! Im 32 active healthy female everyone was very confused how this happen until i had an mri which showed an spontaneous right carotid artery disection. I still have no answer to why and how this happen. Now im just to the point im trying to pick myself up and get life back to normal IM being treated with warafin and still not theraputic(havng inr levels checked weekly) my questions are does anyone know how long a dissection takes to heal? and from your experince when will exercise be able to be resumed? It has been 3 weeks since my dissection. Thankfully my stroke has only left me without sensation in my left hand which seems to be getting better daily. I have been very depressed and confused any advice and insight would be greatlly appreciated!
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Avatar_m_tn
I am a 55 y/o male, internal carotid artery dissection almost 2 years ago of unknown cause (likely was chiropractic neck adjustments or intense coughing).  No classic stroke symptoms, thank God, just lethargy, "out of it."  My artery has healed on its own according to MRA, pseudoanyeruism gone, but still feel mild pain in vicinity of dissection.  I am leading a normal life, though still careful about exercise.  First, a note if you are on aspirin therapy:  My doctors agree there is very little difference between 81mg and 325mg daily dosage.  Suggestion: ask your doctor about reducing dosage to 81mg.  Exercise:  No straining weight lifting.  No strong running.  I have just recently started to return to light jogging; I have worked up slowly, over the course of 15 months, from daily walks to light exercise machines/weights which combined with light calisthenics and jogging (not running) is sufficient to keep me in shape, try to go to gym 3 days a week, and my job entails a good bit of walking.  Never had high blood pressure (lucky), but I still follow general guidelines for keeping blood pressure down, such as watch sodium intake, watch stress levels (difficult most days).  Going to church helps.
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Avatar_m_tn
Dan (thanks for putting your name in earlier post), I hope film is coming along...perhaps the Sen. Mark Kirk incident just in time before your Feb 1st due date.  SO MUCH of carotid artery dissection is misunderstood...I am sure everyone like me is looking forward to your movie.  Can you please post to us when movie on CAD is coming out?
CAD is obviously impacting all kinds of people (although stress seems to be a common thread).
After reading about Senator Kirk's surgery last week to remove 4" x 8" skull piece to allow brain to swell without damage, those of us who can post to this forum should count ourselves lucky.  (Don't worry, surgeons will replace it after swelling goes down and it's safe to reattach).   But imagine--Sen. Kirk a reserve Navy officer, in good shape, had spontaneous CAD that must have caused major occlusion.  Most of us are non-surgery patients, neither stent nor coil needed, and need a forum like this to maintain awareness.  Thank you and we look forward to your movie.  It is a documentary, I assume?
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Avatar_m_tn
did you ever look up shelly cushing's story................!

how bout  Sarah Burke........!

Dan Whalden ...... Indy car driver -las vegas

we do not all have easy road's
I spent 7 months in a coma after suffering a severe Whiplash accident.
at the age of 42.
both my Internal carotid arteies are torn & dissected from the C-1 to the skull base [ 7-9 cm ] right one now is fully occluded
left cva in neck also torn ..........
now blind , lost 80% hearing, sense of smell, sense of taste
And yes ....... did I tell you , my wife of 24 yrs divorced me while I layed in my coma....!!!!!!!!!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,
Film is entered in the Neuro Film Festival!   Its called The NFF Story.

Google the festival, and you can vote on my film.

Thanks
Dan
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Avatar_m_tn
Here's a link to the video....  http://youtu.be/V3HgiyCyXRY

Here's a link to vote... http://patients.aan.com/go/about/neurofilmfestival
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Avatar_m_tn
It sounds like your internal carotid artery dissection was somewhat similar in nature to mine. I had no stroke or trans ischemic attacks, fortunately. I had caught my scarf in my zipper of my coat, and the scarf pulled at the back of my neck. I was carrying heavy things in both arms. I had to bend over and get the zipper unzipped. The back of my neck became a bit stiff, but then I went on to teaching my ESL class. We ate a wonderful holiday dinner in which I suffered no pain. Then, during the last 15 min. of class, I told them the poem "The Night Before Christmas" with some rather enthusiastic arm movements and I heard a "popping sound" and had neck pain immediately. With only jingle bells to go, I finished up and the pain became intense-down my neck, across the back of my shoulder, and then it started creeping down my arm. At first, I thought it might be a heart attack... so I headed for the ER (yes, I drove...how dumb in hindsight). It was only 8 min. away, and everyone had left by this time. After a CAT scan and ultrasound, I was diagnosed with an internal carotid artery dissection with a clot....fortunately, no stroke.

I spent 5 days in the hospital to regulate the heparin, and was sent home and switched to cumadin (coumadin). I was given instructions not to exercise and not to do anything that would raise my blood pressure. I went back to the doctor 5 weeks later and asked when I could exercise, and he said not until I had surgery. He also said not to do anything to hyperextend the neck (no trips to the shampoo bowl). Now everything I have read online says that most of these CADs resolve on their own....but the surgeon even talked surgery in the hospital during initial treatment. Since he is a vascular surgeon, I wonder if his mindset is "to cut is to cure." I was referred to a neurologist after a later trip to the ER for neck pain/migraine, which the vascular surgeon said didn't come as a result of the CAD. I don't get migraines-not till now. The neurologist wasn't in favor of a discussion of surgery this soon after the CAD because her recommendation was to wait for a year to determine whether it would heal on its own. Currently, there has been no improvement in 9 weeks between the first CT scan, MRA/MRI, and most recent CAT scan. The vascular doctor's plan is to reimage in 3 months and seriously consider surgery after that. I'm scheduled for a second opinion next week. Currently, blood flow is satisfactory. Has anyone else had a surgery happy doctor? Did you get a second opinion? Has anyone had a dissection that didn't heal? What are the complications associated with surgery? I appreciate your feedback.
Thanks, Mia

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Avatar_m_tn
I have been home from the hospital after diagnosis of a CAD for almost 9 weeks, and I'm gearing up to go back to work. My neurologist gave me Flexeril...a muscle relaxer to aid the tension in my neck. I was having migraines which were related to neck pain. Wow, 1 pill packed a whollop, but it gave me a drugged feeling for the next day. I can say that after taking that drug for a couple of days, the tension in my neck was better...and I went on 1/3 of the dosage after that. So now I'm only needing Tylenol and the pain is much improved.

I think you are right, there is a lot of anxiety which we try to avoid acknowledging associated with this event.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hey, there,
I'm a 50 year old single mother of two 11 year olds.  I had an asthma attack that had me coughing violently for 3 days.  I went to the dr when I noticed my right pupil was constricted and my eye was drooping.  Other than the coughing, I felt fine.  I had googled my symptoms and saw it was Horner's Sydrome.  I didn't have insurance because I had changed jobs 4 months ago after moving from CT to SC.  The nurse practitioner wasn't sure what it was and said they'd schedule an appointment with an opthamologist later in the week.  That was Tuesday and I ended up in the emergency room on Friday night with a fever.  They diagnosed it as Horner's Sydrome but after a regular CT scan  chest xray and a blood test had ruled out some stuff but since I was showing no neurological symptoms, sent me home.  Sunday I was vomiting and my sister came to drive me to the nearest emergency room with a neurology department.  Five minutes from the emergency room, I started having stroke symptoms:  slurring my speech, numbness in my arms, unable to control my arms.  I was lucky it happend so close to the emergency room.  They did a CT with contrast and saw I had both my carotid arteries 100% occluded from a dissection.  So they put me on Heprin, later lovenox, and coumadin.  I was in the Intensive Care Unit for 11 days and I had another stroke about five days into it.  That was Dec 18-28 of 2011.  I was a high school teacher and lost my job as a result (private school, no contract) but that is okay because now I have medicaid.  I'll have to find a new job, but honestly, I'm so tired all the time right now I don't have the energy to do a real job.  I'm living on my savings.  I take warfarin and pravastin and a baby aspirin.  I've had two little relapses--once a garbled speech that lasted about 20 minutes and another time when I lost control of my arm.  On Feb 9 I went to see my vascular surgeon and they did the ultrasound test of my carotids and said there was no flow yet.  That really depresses me.  Other than that he said I was doing well and to just keep doing what I was doing.  Recently, I had pains in my legs that were unbearable.  I think sciatica.  He let me take 800 mg of Motrin 3 times a day and my regular dr prescribe a narcotic so I could sleep.  It's been misery for 4 days, but I think it is getting better.  My question for the group is are there folks out there who have 2 100% occluded carotid arteries?  And if so, how's it working out for you?  I really worry since I have two adopted children and I am single.  I want to see them make it to adulthood at least!  Also, does anyone know of any "health foods" or activities that encourage the carotid arteries to open back up?
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi All!
Been reading through all of you comments and have some questions of those of you who have "been there".

My husband had a dissection in Sept. of 2011. He spent 2 weeks in ICU as the location of his dissection made it inoperable and the doctors had a very difficult time getting him stabilized,at one point the artery was 95% blocked and every time he sat up he started having stroke symptoms.They were finally able to get everything under control  and he was sent home on a course of blood thinners,aspirin and high blood pressure meds.

He had a cat scan in November and quit miraculously, the dissection had healed completely and he was back at 100% flow.

I would appreciate if any of you could tell me if you have experienced any of the following:

Severe and/or prolonged dizziness/vertigo.

Permanent high blood pressure.

Anger issues,ie: extreme or inappropriate anger responses to small issues.Prolonged bouts of anger and/or barely controlled rage.

(We are told that he never had a full blown stroke)

I would also like to know if any of you have had a second or third dissection or any other artery problems.

My husbands most recent scan last week shows that either a new dissection may be forming below the old one or there may be new artery issues. They will let us know I hope on Monday.

Thanks for any and all responses and I wish you all well!



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Avatar_f_tn
Hello
I just wanted to share with you what I have learned in the last couple of months. If your husband which im sure he is on coumadin this medication can effect his moods as well as energy level. If your husband has issues with blood pressure this can affect healing of his arteries as well as exerting pressure on arteries that have not been dissected. If he is experincing multiple issues with dissections there could be a chance of underlying tissue diseases and fmd. There are several people on this site that have experinced multiple dissections you just have to read through all the posting. I wish you the best of luck I know its hard im scared for my life everyday hopefully when I go for my follow up this month my dissection will be healed.
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Avatar_f_tn
thanks for your reply nurse 32. He has been off of cumadin (coumadin) since nov. we will keep looking for answers ,you may be right about the blood pressure idea and i will look into the fmd thing.

I wish you the best and hope you get the all clear soon. it's such an awful scary thing ,that has no pat answers for anyone.

Take care!
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi nurse32.
I also had a right internal carotid artery dissection on 13th dec 2011,that led onto an cute MCA stroke affecting right frontal lobe.PHysically i have made a great recovery and am doing most of the things i did before including back in the gym everyday and walking for about an hour a day.I still get occasional symptoms such as left side spasticity an light headedness if i push things a bit too much,but was told this is to be expected and should improve over time.
However mentally i am all over the place.Very very anxious,scared stiff of a recurrence.Shocking short term memory,and cognitive impairments such as much slower to do things,pick new things up.

Am currently waiting to be referred to a nuero psychologist for tests to see how much i am affected as my job is very technical and just thinking about it puts me in a panic.

Have just started a very slow phased return to work by doing 1 hour per day 3 days a week,remotely.

Am also desparately wanting a follow up MRA to see what the current state is as the MRA taken on 19th Dec 2011 showed the artery as pretty much occluded,but the NHS in the UK seems a bit reluctant to do a follow on scan
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Hello Ian2802
Thank you for your response! Its great that you seem to be making a good recovery and doing the same things you were prior to your dissection. My neurologist has not given me the ok to return to the gym yet.....its driving me crazy.....I go for my mra on monday so im just praying for the best. When did your docs tell you that you could resume exercise? And do you have any idea how your dissection happen? and are you on blood thinners as well?

Its seems crazy to me that they would not want to rescan you at the three month mark. That seems to be the point when the body has had some time to heal and an mra usually is done (according to my neurologist). I feel like im back to normal I occasionally get tingling in my left hand and sometimes I feel like i can hear my heart beating in my right ear the side of my dissection which occured intracranial high in my head so I dont think im a canidate for any kind of repair or stenting.Im a fulltime nursing student so its been crazy for me trying not to focus on my health as much and do what I need for school im pulling through I can say that and have passed all my classes this term in mist of this all.

How has work been for you? Its nice to know im not alone and hopefully we both will have a hundred percent recovery. Take care
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I am new to this forum and have found many comments helpful to my own confusing adventure.  I also have a few knowledge items to share specific to several posts and chose to respond to this particular one because I am at the same juncture myself currently and may have some insight for you.

I had my first CAD in my left side in 2000 when I was 37 years old.  I had been out for a night of dancing.  I am told I use my neck quite a bit when I dance so that was thought to be the "traumatic" event.  My right arm went numb at the end of the night and resolved within an hour.  I reported this to my doctor a few days later and was sent for testing.  That initial numbness was the only symptom I ever suffered with that CAD.  I went on Coumadin for 4 months, had a follow up MRI in 4 months and it was healed.  This type of CAD limited blood flow to my brain by bulging INTO the path of the blood flow.  

In December of 2011 at the age of 48, I was diagnosed with a second CAD on the right side.  However, this type was a pseudo-aneurysm and did not limit blood flow to the brain because it bulged AWAY from the path of blood flow.  In addition, I could connect it to no recent "traumatic" event.  I had been having shoulder discomfort on my left side for a few months.  When I experienced numbness for a second time upon waking over the past week, I decided to go to the ER. I was tested for all of the traditional underlying diseases that could result in a tissue/vessel weakness such as Lupus, Marfan's, etc.).  But, all tests were negative.  I don't have high blood pressure or cholesterol, exercise regularly and eat with ridiculous discipline.  

I just had my 3 month follow up MRI and I too have received the news that it has remained unchanged.  Within this 3 month period, I continued to have numbness and tingling all along my face, ear, shoulder, neck, arm, and hand on and off.  I have come to a conclusion recently that these symptoms are associated with something that is possibly unrelated and coincidental to the left side.  But, this post is so long already I want to stick to the most valuable information.

I also consulted with a local and prestigious University Medical Center for a 2nd opinion to try to understand the underlying pathology for my 2nd rare CAD.  Their view was that this type of dissection would rarely heal on its own and they recommended a stent in short order to minimize risk of stroke.  They would check to see if there were signs of healing before proceeding with the stent by the use of the Angiogram camera.  

In answer to another post related to "coiling", the University told me that this is the secondary procedure if the initial stent procedure does not work to close off the vessel wall and basically dry up the aneurysm.  They will then go back in and put a coil in the aneurysm to basically destroy it.

They offered no insight into the underlying pathology except just a weakness in the tissues, typical to female and the 5th decade of life.

I went to a 3rd Neurologist for an opinion since the 1st two differed.  This Neurologist ordered a 1 1/2 month brain MRI to check if my symptoms were resulting in mini strokes.  My scan was clear.  So, it was recommended that I remain on the traditional course of a 3 month recheck and Coumadin use.  Since the stent procedure was so invasive and had a risk of stroke, bleeding, infection, etc., I chose to give my body a chance to respond and see what it looked like at 3 months.  As I said above, no change.

I was referred to and am now scheduled in a few days for a consultation appointment at one of the leading Neurological Clinic's in the US.  The thought is that since this is so rare they likely have more experience in cases and therapy results and may be able to help me get answers on the underlying pathology.  

I hope this has been helpful to you and others.  In the end, we will need to listen to our bodies closely in order to care for this condition - weigh the risks and benefits with what knowledge we can acquire.  A consensus and a firm sense of comfort in the choices we make is something Doctors cannot offer us.

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Hello everyone. I just got a message regarding my recent mra(missed the call) My neurologist is out of town so I most likley will not get a phone call back from him till next week. Anyway there is blood flow again through my right carotid artery(dissection side) yay!! So our bodies can do amazing things. He wants me to stay on the warafin due to a branch off the artery that has some residual irregularity.....has anyone ever heard of this???....so I dont think im one hundred percent in the clear yet he wants me to get another mra in three months but is very pleased with this one. Like i said hes out of town and I still have questions so decided to post her till I hear back from him. Does this mean my blood clot has dissolved?? is my dissection healed completelly if there is blood flow again?? should I still wait to return to the gym. Any insight would be great
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Hi everyone! I am so happy to find this site, I have learned so much. My CAD was diagnosed on February 11th, I had Horners syndrome, didn't know what it was so I went to my MD. He sent me to an opthomoligist who referred me to a Neurologist. Two days later I had a MRI, went to breakfast and when we walked in the door at home the Neurologist was calling telling me to pack a bag and go to the ER. Pretty scary stuff. I spent 5 days in the hospital and I'm now on Coumidan. I have had extreme headaches on the left side, the side of the dissection so the Neurologist has me on Gabapentin 300 mg 7 times a day. This has helped so much, I feeel semi normal now.

After 7 weeks out of the hospital my blood level is finally in the 2-3 range, I was so happy. Funny what makes you happy when you have CAD.

My left shoulder and neck hurt off and on. It's funny but the doctors have said some of the symptoms I have, the severe headaches, neck and shoulder pain are not normally caused from a CAD but reading on here I see they are. The head pains feel like they are caused from hypersensitivity in my left eye and ear.

It feels so good to see I'm not alone and read how others have had CAD and healed. It's scary to feel like you could have a stroke any time.

The nerosurgeon who took care of me in the hospital said they would do a followup scan in 3 months but when I went for my followup visit to their stroke clinic, I saw a different neurosurgeon who said they would do a scan at 6 month. I started crying and he didn't understand my disappointment. I've really been looking forward to the 3 month scan in hopes that mine would be healed.
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Hello welcome to the site. Alot of the older post on this site have such great info but I dont think many of these people still communicate on here or I would try to suck all the info I could from the experinced ones lol... anyway I just wanted to tell you to really push for that 3 month scan most people do get rescanned at three months! all that you have been trough you deserve a piece of mind. If your not happy with the answer your getting from your doc find another! I just recently had my three month scan and there is blood flow back trough my artery thank god. So I know how anxious and scared you must be. I still have questions for my doc just wating to hear back but just from his message I  got I feel so much more at ease about the dissection which I did suffer a stroke. Hang in there it will get better.
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Fear not! I started this thread, and I am still on here periodically. I know others are, too. To be honest, though, I have recovered very well, and don't have as much time or personal need to research this topic or respond here. I am glad that this thread continues to get so much activity, and I hope everyone is able to read back through the old posts to get useful info. I have learned so much from all of you. I would hate for anyone who needs support to feel like they aren't getting it, so feel free to message me privately through MedHelp if you just need someone to talk to who is now on the other side. Hugs to all.
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You are awesome! thank you I sent you a message. Happy easter everyone!
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Thanks for the response! I'm gald you're getting good news and hope you continue to.

I didn't have to push too hard, my crying convinced him so he said they would schedule it for 3 months, I go back to for results on June 6th which is actually 4 months but that's better than three!

The clinic is aleady acting pretty strange around me because when I was in the hospital and they did the angiogram, they nicked the artery causing a psuedoaneurysm. I had to go to the emergency room a couple of weeks after I was released from the hospital because my leg was numb and felt like it was burning inside. The Neurosurgeon who performed the angiogram tried to blame it on weak arteries but the emergency room doctor and Vascular Surgeon both said the artery was nicked. I don't care either care either way, the vascular doc was able to seal the nick and cut off the blood flow. Now I'll be really glad when the blood clot dissolves. It's pressing on a nerve and causing the inside of my leg to be extremely irritated. I can't stand for clothing to touch it.
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Thank you for starting this thread, it has been a wealth of information for me and a comfort.

I wonder if those who have had this are under any restrictions once they have healed. I'm afraid I'm going to be so paranoid that I'll have another dissection I won't be able to live the active lifstyle I'm used to.
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To everyone with a recent dissection...get a jar. Fill it with 365 M&Ms, jelly beans, etc. Eat one each day, knowing that when they are gone, you will be in a completely different place. Give yourself a year. A year to heal. A year to relax. A year to eat well, meditate, and slowly get active again with walks, etc. A year to move from "why me" to gratitude. A year to appreciate that nature has given us two lungs, two kidneys, two eyes, two legs, two arms, two hands, two feet, two ears, two carotid arteries, etc. Because sometimes, you have to pull out the spare tire. I wish someone had told me what a difference a year would make. The fear will subside. It will get better.
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On another note, just made an appointment for my 5-year follow-up/ultrasound with a vascular surgeon in Austin who also had a arterial dissection of some sort. Thinking he might know a thing or two...
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Great advice!
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I have really had a rough week some are worse than others as we all know! My neurologist is out of town for spring break so I have sat and just played every scenerio in my head. Im just left with his phone message just wondering im I really ok is this residual in the branch off my artery a chance for me to have another stroke.
Chris thank you for messaging me back. I appreciate your advice and encouraging words. Im terrified to go back to the gym even though all I can think about is going back its crazy..... I sat here last night and read through all the post again how some people went back right away with no problems then some went back and had issues, guess you have to test your waters....I just need my doctor to tell me its ok to resume exercise and I cant get that answer right now so fustrating..... I look at my kids and think how lucky I really am that I should be just glad to be alive but it just dosent seem so great right now. Im also thinking im out of school right now with all this time on my hands so alot has really sunken in
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I'm sorry you're having such a rough time right now. Will your doctor be back on Monday? The waiting and not knowing is like slow torture. I've read through all the post but don't remember if you're doing any type of exercise. I'm taking daily walks and doing some stretches that don't involve my neck and it's at least making me feel a little better that I'm doing something. I also bought 3 pound hand weights and do some curls and other arm exercises with them. I know it's not much but I guess it kind satisfies me in a way.

You'll drive yourself crazy with all the thinking. Distract yourself with a book or play internet games, I play Words with Friends on Facebook quite a bit. Just a thought.
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Hello,Im doing much better thank you for asking. My doctor actually was in his office fri but his nurse is still on vacation so I dont even think he knows I called. I have every intention on calling first thing mon to ensure he gets my questions its been a CRAZY MESS.

As far as exercise I have been taking long walks but this is just not enough for me!!!! prior to dissection I was in the gym four or five days a week cardio, weights, classes just part of my life so this has just been such a life changing event. Its good to hear you have been keeping your spirits up.....Is there anything you can do about the doctor that did your angiogram? That is crazy.

I plan to go to the gym this week test my waters, I gonna keep track of my bp while doing so just cardio at first see how it goes...I make sure to tell my neurologist about what Im doin. I havent seen a vascular doc only a neurologist and my primary care. Everyone states that if im not having any issues there no need also that I had a stroke so the neurologist can handle my care. How do you feel on this do you feel your vascular doc provides more info to you? If you dont mind me asking where area do you live in?
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Todays Monday, hopefully you'll hear from your doctor!

I'm not actually seeing the Vascular surgeon, I was referred to him by the emergency room for the psuedoaneurysm. He sealed it in his office, I followed up a week later so make sure everything was okay.

I was going to the stroke clinic where the neurosurgeons who cared for me in the hospital work, they were my primary for the CAD but I called my neurologist and asked if I had to keep seeing them or could she be my primary and she said yes she would. I didn't see any need in seeing two doctors and I really like the neurologist.

I don't know if there's anything I can do about the psuedoaneurysm. I went this weekend and had to buy some skirts and dresses for work. This will be my first full week back to work and I usually wear slacks but I can't stand them rubbing against my leg. I've actually thought about sending the clinic the bills associated with the psuedoaneurysm like the emergency room bill, the vascular surgeon's bill and the receipt for my new clothes.

I live in good old Garland Texas, how about you?
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I am 39 year old male, good health, non-smoker, social drinker on weekend. I started having dizzy spells at work that included some disorientation and garbles speech, followed by headaches - nothing severe, but enough to make me realize something was wrong. My GP dismissed it which made me think I was overreacting. I was having issues with a blocked right ear so thought it was sinus related. A week or so later after 2 more minor "attacks" I went to urgent care. The Dr. (who I am most thankful to) noticed the drooping left eye and larger right pupil, and sent me off to ER. After 6 hours in ER (CT of head, CTA of neck and chest x-rays), I was released stating it was nothing serious and follow up with an ophthalmologist and also get an MRI done. 5 days later the Optho advised that my eyes were fine and I had symptoms of a brain aneurysm! After bursting into tear and giving my wife life insurance details, I went straight back to the ER and asked them to recheck my CT / CTA. They advised that they were unable to but could to another CT and a lumber puncture?!. After a 6 hour wait, I was finally admitted and within 15 minutes, test after test started happening. EKG, chest x-rays more CTs. I was admitted to the hospital in the early hours of the morning. Around 7am I was taken for an MRI (3 of them - 90 minutes!). Later that day, the vascular surgeon finally walked into the room and confirmed the dissection, and that it was evident on the CTA from my first visit to ER!. 3 days in ICU on heparin and another 4 days in the ward. I was released a few weeks ago and told to work through the PT / INR (taking Coumadin and BP medication to keep BP below 130 / 80) with by GP and follow up with the vascular surgeon in 3 months. In my case, we caught it early, thanks to our perseverance. Hematoma  - 6mm out of the 7mm of the artery which resulted in mini TIA’s. Very emotional ride to say the least, especially with a 4 + 6 year old. They are calling in spontaneous, but I had started running at the gym a month before, and have also been working in the garden (spreading 7 tons of stone, moving rocks etc etc).

Question to the group (unable to find good notes out there) - what are common symptoms during recovery? I am getting a little tenderness in the neck area around the dissections as well as dull headaches (which have been improving). Droopy eye has been returning back to normal, however pupils still different sizes. Speech is fine but I still have a slight focus issue with my sight (I am almost 40 )

Good Luck to all of you out there.
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Hi BryanFAZ! I've read everything I could find about this and we know there isn't much but the best I've found is in this forum. The main the I've seen on how you feel during the healing is headaches easing. From my own experience, I'm two months into this, I think my headaches are easing. I'm on constant non narcotics to make them bearable so I can function but the last couple of weeks  I feel like maybe I can start cutting down on the medicine. Even with the medicine I still feel pressure behind and above my left eye and have had a constant small headache but a lot of that has eased up. My only question with the headaches would be if they are easing up is that a sign of healing or not. From what I've read the headaches could be the Horners syndrome and/or the nerves in the brain that had are irritated and inflammed so one or both of these things could be healing. Hopefully someone else will have a better answer.

Two months in I also have more energy. I'm back to work full-time and it's not causing my headaches to be worse when I'm behind a monitor all day. The increased energy could be my body is used to the Coumadin and the pain pills so they are no longer making me want to sleep all the time or it could be the healing.

For me, I think overall the easing of the headaches, the increased energy, and just feeling better are signs that I'm healing. I don't think any of us know for sure until we go in for the following scans.

Good luck to you and keep us posted!
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Hi Linda. Thanks for your reply and feedback. I too get the odd dull headache. In my case I have not needed to take any medication (which is a good thing). I sometimes experience some light dizzy spells, which I am guessing is due to the Coumadin (5mg) and beta blockers (25mg). And lastly, some light tenderness in my neck area around the dissection (My GP places his stethoscope there and listens to the blood flow - apparently they can hear if there are blockages or a hematoma). I am seeing my vascular surgeon on Wednesday. He only wanted to see me in mid-June, however, I have many questions so booked a follow up appointment. I am moving in the right direction, however, when one has a close call like many of us did, we tend to think that each twitch, headache etc. is somehow related :). I will report back after my appointment on Wednesday. Happy Friday everyone.
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Boy do we! I've had strange shooting pains in my forehead, the back of my head, and the side of my head. I have tingling in my left cheek. Today I've had a strange shooting sensation from my bicep that travels down through my arm to my hand and fingers. This is on my right side and my dissection is on my left side. I'm choosing to ignore it right now.

Since you said you've had TIAs, how do you know you've had them, do they show on the scans?
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I had a stroke 5 days after having my daughter by cesaerean section & it was due to disection of the carotid artery. I lost my speech & the power down my right side, luckily most has returned.

The Dr's have no reason why it happened.

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The Vas Surgeon said that based on my description of the "incidents", i.e. eyesight (focus), garbled speech, dizziness, disorientation, followed by a return back to normal apart from a headache, that these were mini TIAs warning of a potential stroke. Me, being a typical man, waited until the 4th incident before I went to ER. Someone was looking after me a I guess!?

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Hello
How has your first week back at work been? Hopefully all is good and life is some what getting back to normal. So I finally talk to my neurologist(took a bit). I got the ok to return to the gym and resume exercise!!!! I went for the first time fri and I really feel better already. Im scared to do anything that puts strain on my neck even if im cleared to do weights. Im sure this feeling will pass in time. I return back to nursing school next week full time so I be really busy. My dissection is healing and there is great blood flow again but it is not healed all the way. I had an embolus(travling blood clot) that lodge in my frontal lobe of my brain. Bits of this clot broke off and traveled to the ends of some of the branches in my brain so there is some residual of the clot that has not dissolved all the way but my doc is pleased how healing is going. Have you received any news on your healing? We just need to take it day by day and stay strong. I live in virginia  beach in case your ever out this way.

@BryanFAZ Hello and welcome to the site. I just wanted to share some of my experience with you and maybe it will help. It truly seems everyone heals diffrent yet we experience the same symptoms. I had my dissection on jan 4. The night before I had extreme orbital pain around my right eye and an headache that was very intense. I went to sleep thinking I had a sinus headache and woke up not feeling the left side of my body and loss use of my left hand. I had a stroke in my sleep other than this experience I had no signs of an dissection prior. The first months I suffered headaches but didnt  need meds I just dealt with them Im guessing for others they are just to much and meds are needed. I would be very nervous about the headaches scared that I would have another stroke, but they subsided and now I dont have them. When I first started taking the coumadin I was tired and had a loss of energy but as lidaw stated your body gets use to the medication.
I have no after affects of the stroke I was so fortunate. I do experince tingling in my left hand which I think is just the sensation coming back. And the only issue it seems that I had from the dissection is occasional ringing in my ear which too went away. Sorry this is so long! lets us know how wen goes this forum will be a great support system for you good luck!
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Great news! I'm so glad you're able to go back to the gym. I can't wait! I know what you mean about being worried to strain your neck, I don't know how to get past that, it's going to be really hard for me too. Nursing school, wow, you are going to be really busy!.

I go for a 3 month MRA next Thursday and then see the neurologist the next Monday. I have built my hopes up so much that I'll get the all clear and be able to come off the coumadin. My husband keeps telling me not to get my hopes up so much because he doesn't want me to be too disappointed if it hasn't healed but I can't help it. I feel so much better I can't imagine it's not healed. I still get headaches so I can't come off the pain killers yet but that's okay.

I haven't shared how I tore my artery. I was pulling weeds. Being a dummy, instead of turning my whole body to pull out a really tough clump of weeds, I reached to my side and strained. I heard a pop and thought, oh that's not good. I thought I probably pulled a muscle in my neck and would be sore for a while. I had pain behind and above my eye when I woke up the next morning and thought I was getting a sinus infection. The 2nd morning I woke up and it felt like there was a fire in my head but once I was up it eased and I was still thinking sinus. The third day I knew something was wrong when I looked in the mirror and saw my droopy eyelid and the pain had intensified behind my eye. That's when I finally went to a doctor.

BryanFAZ, I think someone is watching over us! I was lucky to be diagnosed before I had a stroke or caused further damage. My neurologist told me I had a guardian angel.
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Fellow gardener! I believe mine was caused by spreading out 7 tons of stone in the garden (stone is our grass here in AZ!).

It has been a month since my diagnosis. Since you are nearing your 3 month f/up, has your droopy eye recovered? Did you have one pupil larger than the other? If so, has this improved? Final question regarding eyesight - is this back to normal?

Good luck with your f/up - looking forward to hearing about your good news.
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My droopy eyelid looks pretty normal now and yes I did have a constricted pupil. It has improved to where most people can't even tell a difference even if they were looking for it. My vision still seems blurry sometimes but the pain meds I'm on say they can cause blurry vision so for all I know that could be the cause.

Let us know how your appointment goes tomorrow!
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F/up with the Vascular Surgeon went well. He only wanted to see me in 3 months, however, I scheduled the f/up as I had many questions regarding current symptoms. The take away is that certain symptoms are normal as long as they are not new and are not getting worse.

In my case, I continue to have a tender neck, slight dizzy spells, dull headaches, slight eyesight / focus issues as well as fatigue etc. My droopy eye is still evident albeit showing signs of improvement. All of these symptoms have improved in the month since my diagnosis. And just to be clear, my symptoms are minor, ie I have not taken meds for headaches, I have not felt as if I would pass out etc.

All of these are normal according to my surgeon. Medication is probably to blame for the dizzy spells.

I can return to the gym - but should stay away from lifting weights etc, walking, cycling etc is fine. Asked about picking up my 4 / 6 year olds - no problem, use common sense was my take away!

I left feeling better and need to f/up with a CTA in 2 months. I was told to still expect to see evidence of the dissection at this point.

Hope this helps!
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Hi BryanFAZ! I'm glad your doctor says everything you're experiencing is normal with the condition. I'm sure it puts your mind at ease thinking there is something else going on. What is confusing to me is how the instructions doctors give differ. I've been told not to lift more than 10 pounds. I can't vacuum or sweep (I asked specific cleaning instructions because I feel bad with my husband doing everything). I'm not even supposed to carry my purse on the side of the dissection. I'm sure it's a relief to you that you can pick up your daughters but that's incredible to me.

I hope you're able to get lots of rest and give in when your body tells you to. My doctor told me rest will help the healing process. She also told me my brain had experienced a trauma and needed rest. I hadn't even thought of my brain, only the artery needing to heal.

Good luck to you and keep us updated!
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11 days post-CAD here, & glad to have found this group. Having read through, 2 questions:
1. when I began exercising (cardio & weights) 5 months before the dissection, I started experiencing a discomfort in my neck post-exercise - described to doc as like an itch in my carotid. (Doc requested ultrasound which for unknown reasons never happened.) Anyone else have that? (Due to a bad knee, I've avoided running - dissection happened an hour after my first significant run in years - 2.5 miles on the track.)
2. Do people find that BP goes up post-dissection? My records are very thin, but such as they are BP was good before (110/70) & is high (140/80) now.
Thanks
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Hello how have you been feeling? After my dissection I was told also not to lift anything and absolutley no aerobic exercise until just now and im almost four months post op. Im sure once you go next week for your f/u you will be able to do more once there is sign of healing (which im sure there is:) From what I have been reading it seems within a six month time frame most dissections heal. But there are some case Ive read people go in for there follow up and there no healing at all!!! I really think it depends how badley your artery is torn and how much you rest and let your body heal but of coarse those are just thoughts. My artery is still healing Im just thankful to be alive!

Im having one issue with the coumadin cant wait till I come off of that. I just had labs done and my red blood cell count is extremely low causing me to be very anemic. So now im also taking iron pills and vit c for absorption.Just thought I let everyone know that to make sure to get that checked. Its crazy to me from your story and others how easily it seems that that carotid artery can tear. I wish you the best with your follow up and its great to hear your feeling better!

@BrucePM it seems alot of people who are athletes have dissections crazy you would think it would not be those people. If you have read through the older post a handful had their dissections after running....as for the bp mine has stayed the same. If your are having issues with bp do you think this has a relation to how your dissection happened? Good luck to you it gets better...............

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I've been feeling pretty good and having extra energy until this week. Yesterday and today I'm extremely tired. My right eye has been twitching off and on for two days it's about to drive me crazy. And of course it worries me with all the nerve things going on in my head. I've been back at work full time for 4-5 weeks now and doing okay but yesterday somebody decided to bathe in their perfume and it was so bad I had leave an hour after I got to the office. I get headaches under normal circumstances from too much perfume but with this condition the perfume really sets off the headache.

I never thought about the Coumadin causing you to be anemic. I've been on it for three months and no doctor has suggested a blood test. How are the workouts going?
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So sorry, you didn't say when you dissection occured, are you getting better?
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Hi Bruce PM! I never felt like there was an itch on my carotid only tightness and a sore neck. My blood pressure was normal before the CAD and now when I'm check it's lower. I've thought it was from the medicines I'm on.
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Hi! I had my MRA last Thursday and had an appointment with my neurologist yesterday. She said the MRA came back normal but she was asking that the scan be read again. She wanted to make sure they compared it to my scan from February and paid particular attention to the area where the artery was torn. Her office just called me and said they even had a top neurologist look at it and I'm healed!!!!! I start on baby aspirin and take it and the coumadin for two days and then I stop the coumadin. She's said it's incredible that the CAD has healed in 3 months. Thanks goodness I didn't listen to the neurosurgeon who didn't want to do a scan until 6 months out which would have meant 6 months on coumadin when I didn't even need it 3 of those months. I'm still on restrictions as far as lifting and jogging and I'm supposed to slowly build up my activities. No over the head weights, free weights or any type of activity/exercise that puts strain on my neck. Now to get rid of the headaches which to me is minor compared to the last 3 months.
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Congratulations Lindaw82! I am 7 weeks away from my 3 month scan. I am feeling stronger by the day, total contrast from 6 weeks ago. Hopefully I will get the same update as you!

Going forward, can you clarify how long you will take Coumadin for? Do they recommend you stay on the baby asparin (aspirin) longterm? When will you need to have another MRA?

Great news!
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Hi and thanks! I take the coumadin and aspirin both for two days and then I continue to take the aspirin but stop the coumadin. Thursday will be the last time I take the coumadin. I asked how long I would need to take the aspirin and she indicated a year. I follow up in 2-3 months but she didn't mention another MRA.

I'm glad you're seeing a big difference. It's amazing what just a few weeks healing can do. Good luck and keep us updated!
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Hello! That is such great news!!! Im very happy for you our bodies can do an amazing job at bouncing back. Its also a great thing you dont have to take that rat poison anymore I think that an issue in its own, My artery is pretty much healed except residual from the blood clot in a branch off my artery so that why my neurologist is keeping me on the warfarin till july and I get another mra hopefully then I will be like you and be taking asprin!

One thing I can say is how lucky I really do feel about my stroke, I have been doing my clinical rotations for school at the hospital as well as a rehab center. Most of the patients I have been assigned are stoke patients and they are going through intensive rehab just to do daily activites again. and to think I was so worried about going back to the gym!!!

Anyway congrats to you I know how great you are feeling keep in touch and enjoy your road to recovery
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Thank you Craig, your story his very similar to mine...I had a few strokes at 43, I a m 44 now taking it easy and hoping to heal, I have Carotid Artery Dissection, there all dissected. I was working very actively in the decorating industry and I was trained kick boxing wich I loved. It's been very hard. I wish I can have my life back, eventhough this life as been a big eye opener and given my a lot of good things too.

My best,
Isa
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Hi,

This is amazing to find this forum and hear that so many people are doing so well. I've been home for a week after having a CAD. I'm a 32 year old male. I have a very active lifestyle. I go(or went) to the gym 5 days a week run, mountain bike, hunt and anything else I can find to do outdoors. Two weeks ago I was out for an evening jog not long in to it everything instantly went black as i started to pass out. I hit the ground on the side of the road and managed to stay on my hands and knees until my sight came back. When it did I got up and i had a bad pain behind my left eye, everything was blurry in that eye and i could not tolerate the sunlight at all. Anything remotely bright was completely washed out and I couldnt see it. i could barely walk home I was so dizzy. By the time i got home it got a bit better but the next morning my eye hurt bad so i went to the eye doctor. He said my eye looked fine but he was worried it could be something bad and that i should get an MRA. Not having insurrance I waited a couple of days and got it done at an imaging lab thanks to the Dr. that my little sister works for. When they received the results my little sister called me and told me I had to get to the ER ASAP. I did and when I got there they made a few phone calls to a vascular surgeon in Phoenix and I was airlifted down to the heart institute. After three days in the ICU, 1 MRA, 3 CTA's, 1 MRI and an ultrasound it was determined that I had a CAD that was 100% occluded. The blockage is about 1.5" long. They said I had 2 minor strokes that caused no symptoms and i was extremely lucky. I took lovenox for a week and I'm on Warfarin and baby asprin. I was on a heprin drip the whole time in the ICU. They said there is a slight chance it could open back up but they dont think it will and they would prefer it didnt to avoid a serious stroke.
The dizzyness and vertigo has finally subsided but the headaches are terrible. Especially in the evenings. I also have ringing in my ear and strange burning sensations in my ear and near the base of my skull. Ive been pretty down about eveything but seeing on here that so many people are making great recoveries really helps.
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On April 20, 2012 my husband a had a stroke at home.  He lost all use of the right side of his body and could not speak.    This was the scariest thing I had ever seen and it was very unexpected--He is only 42 years old.  He finally began to come around and I took him to our local hospital where they did an MRI / MRA and CT scans that showed his left carotid artery to be completely blocked.  Due to him having high cholesterol, they chalked it up to being plaque in the artery and they said they could not do surgery since it was completely blocked.  We were in the hospital a few days and released taking aspirin, Crestor, and Plavix.  On April 25, he had another small stroke where he got dizzy and lost the use of his right hand.  They symptons went away quickly, but I took him to another hospital ER.  After being admitted, we saw a neurologist that was in agreement with our local hospital and was going to chalk it up to being plaque in the carotid artery.  Luckily, our family doctor had suggested we insist on seeing a cardio vascular surgeon, in which I did.  When he looked at all the tests, he said he could actually see some blood flow in the artery, and did not feel that it was plaque.  We had an angiogram done, which showed my husband to have a CAD and it was blocked by a blood clot.  The next day, the cardio vascular surgeon along with the neurologist were trying to determine if we should do surgery or try to treat the blood clot with blood thinners.  A decision was made not to do surgery, because it would be too risky and could cause another stroke. Well, on April 25 while in the hospital, he had another stroke and it was worse than the other two.  We were immedialely air lifted to UT-Southwestern in Dallas, TX.  Thank God for their team of doctors!!!!  My husband had lost all use of the right side of his body and could not speak.  It did not look good.  The doctors administered TPA medicine (clot busters) directly into the carotid artery.  He was placed in ICU and was expected to be there for up to 5 days.  By the grace of God,  the next morning he was moving his right foot and hand.  Due to his great progress, we were moved into a private room in just two days.  We were released from the hospital on May 2nd and are now in therapy three days a week for speech.  He regained all use of the right side of his body.  Speech is very limited, but progresses everyday.

He now takes cholesterol medicine and warfarin.  We have to go once a week for blood tests.  He seems to have good days and bad days.  He is continually dizzy and has tenderness in his neck where the dissection was.  He also seems to tire out easily.  The doctors say this is normal and his body needs rest to heal.  We go back to Dallas in a few weeks to have another CT scan to see if the artery has healed.  This has been an emotional roller coaster for us and our children.  Every little ache or pain he has, he immediately thinks he might have another stroke.  Can't wait til the doctor visit in Dallas!!
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Hello
I just wanted to give you some words of encouragement. please try to keep your head up. It will and does get better!!! its going to be an emotional roller coaster but your already half way there now just give yourself time to heal. like you I was and still are very active in the gym. Its crazy dissections seem to happen to athletic people. I have to admit the  hardest things for me was not being able to work out for four months but now im back at the gym and back to my everyday activities. The headaches will subside I do want to ask you does the ringing in your ear sound like the beat of your heart? I also experienced this and it has stopped. Do they have any assumptions how your cad happened? If you just need to vent or have any questions feel free to message me I know how scary it can be and how much of a life change it can cause
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Hi - anyone who has strange artery issues and tears should go to fmdsa.org   I have FMD - after having two carotid dissections.   You may have a weakness - but it's sounds like yours was trauma related.  Still a small jolt to the head shouldn't have caused a tear unless perhaps there is an underlying weakness. worth having your doctors expolore this further....
Also for the martial arts guy in the comment above - I wouldn't see a chiropractor anymore - they've linked a lot of strange tears to seeing a chiropractor or having some work done on backs/necks shortly before the tear.  Not on everyone just people who are genetically weak in those areas.  Have to be careful - if you've had one tear - can happen again - so no heavy lifting or rollercoasters or blows to the neck....  In your case it healed - in mine they have not healed and too dangerous to stent them.
My carotid tears were missed at first as well - then they called me back in the next morning.  These are very rare so you have to push the doctors at times for the tests you need.
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I keep posting this and hope everyone who has these artery issues has looked at fmdsa.org - read thru some of the patient stories and you will see something in common.  Take care - and after the first year - you'll stop stressing so much and relax.  When I get stressed or anxious the symptoms get worse - the bp goes up and causes the pain and numbness and all those great things.  But you need an expert dr watching you especially if you have tears and or fibro muscular dysplasia.  Its often overlooked.  Cleavland Clinic is amazing and Dr. Olin in NYC is amazing!  Often times you should get your renal arteries scanned as well - it's very commen to have problems in your carotids and renals   (kidney area).Hope you feel better!  
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Hi woodsd79! Nurse32 is right. Hang in there. I hope the doctors have given you medicine for the headaches. I know how bad they can be. I take Gabapentin. It is a non narcotic and from what I've read it affects the nerves. It has been a life saver for me. I wasn't able to function at all because of the pain even though I was taking hydrocodone it was a temporary relief.

Take care of yourself and rest and let your body heal itself. I hope you'll keep us updated on your progress.
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Hi brmrjt! I'm so glad your family doctor suggested you see someone else. I have heard good things about UT Southwestern. I'm in the Dallas area but wasn't sent there. I was sent to a Plano hospital that has a stroke center.

Your family has been through a lot and it's very scary. Your husband is going to worry about having a stroke for a while. I would get scared when I'd feel a pain shoot through my head that wasn't where I normally hurt or strange sensations in my cheeks. It's been almost 4 months since I had my injury and my husband still treats me like I'm going to break.

It sounds like your husband is already on the road to recovery. I hope he continues to heal and gets better every day!
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He seems to get more energy everyday.  His speech is also improving.  Still a ways to go.  He continues to get dizzy and every now and then, sees "shooting stars" out of his left eye.  I wonder if that could be some side effects of the blood thinner.  Any ideas?
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Hi,

Thanks for the encouragement. The ringing in my ear is just a loud constant high pitch. No heart beat. It does coe and go though. I had my first follow up on Wednesday and the doc said I'm doing great. 1 more month and im scheduled for another CTA with 3d reconstruction. That will be 8 weeks after it happened. He said that things should start to stabilize after 6. The headaches have improved noticibly by the day over the last week. Ive been going back to work and just doing office and computer work. Whether Im working or at home relaxing by afternoon I usually feel like there is a lot of pressure in my neck below the blockage like it is somewhat swollen. As far as the cause the Dr's are just saying it was spontaneous but I have a hard time believing I do not have a genetic connective tissue dissorder considering my father died of a dissecting aortic aneurysm when he was 34. I will be doing more to try and find a cause but right now I dont have insurance and dont qualify for squat for assistance so im screwed. Did yours heal up or was it totally occluded. The doc said that most of the pain is most likely from vessels expanding and contracting making changes and growing new blood supplies. Im still having a little bit of vision issues but from what I understood my eye is getting blood but the blood is kind of stagnant because after it goes to my eye it ties back in to the IC above my blockage which is now flowing backwads and preventing it from circulating. Im glad to hear that you are back to the gym and your normal lifestyle in such a short time. Thats excellent.

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Hi,
Ive been taking ibuprofin once in a while but thats it. I dont like taking pills and the coumadin is bad enough. Its much more tolerable now than it was last week. I have found that going out in to the sunlight triggers some pretty bad pains. Cant even keep my eye open to walk to my truck without sunglasses. I just had my first follow up and it went well. You can read my response to nurse 32. I explained what the doc said about the pain and eye problems. After reading some of the posts on here I dont think i could have been in better care when this happend. Im very thankfull That the ER called the specialist in Phoenix right away.
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I am fairly new to this forum, but I have been reading about your situation.  It has been a little over a month since my husband had his CAD and his stroke.  He is doing much better, but he has dizzy spells quite often and he has pressure in his head above his left ear.  We did go to our family doctor and she said he had some fluid in his ear, which was probably sinus related.  Didn't you have some of these same symptons and if so have they subsided?  
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Hello
I hope you and your family are doing better I wanted to send you a big hug! I also had a stroke with my dissection. I had lost use of my left side and had a blood clot break away from my dissection and travel to my brain im really lucky to be alive!

Its great to hear your husband has feeling back, I remember crying thinking i never write again (im left handed) and with time I regained feeling on my left side again. Did the doctors tell you if they broke up the blood clot? or the body would dissolve the clot on its own? From my experience I feel the road to recovery is so much easier if your seeing the best doctors that you can in your area. Doctors who have experience with cad patients and can answer all the questions that come with this rare situation. It was extremely hard to deal with unanswerd questions but I fought to get the answers.

When I first starting taking the warfarin I was tired and moody your body really has to adjust to this med. and the effects differ person to person. You and your family will be in my prayers. He will heal and so will your family physically emotionally and mentally. we are survivors on this forum!!!!
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Thank you so much for the encouragement.  He was just telling me that today has been one of his best days so far!  Unfortunately, we are from the East Texas Area and our hospitals are not equipped for this situation.  We were life flighted to Dallas to UT Southwestern.  They did administer TPA medicine when we got there directly into the artery.  They also started him on a heparin drip.  Before we came back to our local hospital for speech rehab, they switched over to the Lovenox shots along with the warfarin.  This has been an emotional roller coster for us.  It is amazing how your life can change in a split second, but I have to remember God is in control!
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Hello - I am now close to 2 and a half months since my dissection. For the first 4-6 weeks I did experience dizzy spells (from the beta blockers) along with tenderness in my neck in the area of the dissection. I sometimes experienced dull headaches on the left side. Prior to the dissection I had a blocked right ear which I had tried to get drained, unsuccessfully. I was taking antibiotics to resolve this. I saw an ENT after the dissection and It turned out to be a fungal infection and I was told to use a few drops of athletes foot solution. The ear is now fine. Not sure if this is coincidental or somehow related.

I am now feeling much stronger, headaches are no longer an issue, tenderness in the neck has almost gone. My droopy is still noticeable, however, showing continued signs of improvement. Fatigue is my main gripe at present - probably due to the Coumadin and beta blockers - looking forward to my 3 month CTA and hopefully some positive news.

As you mention, this has been a very emotional journey. I look at things differently now. During the first few weeks, each twinge caused me to panic. My confidence in this area is improving. Keep the chin up - I read somewhere that the risk of recurrence is highest in the first month and then remains in the area of 1% per year for about a decade.

I hope this helps!
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Thanks so much.  The last couple of days he seems to have more energy.  He is just so frustrated with his speech.  We have to do speech therapy 3 times a week, and he is improving.  He is not one to sit still, but can't go back to work yet.  We can't wait for our doctor appointment at the end of June.  Waiting is the hard part!
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Hi all! I hope everyone is doing well! I wanted to ask about the headaches to see if anyone has experienced the same thing and if so when they'll finally go away. I'm 4 months into the CAD and the artery tear has healed but I still have the headaches. The doctors said the headaches are from the nerves being irritated and inflammed and I was hoping somebody could tell me how long their headaches lasted. Mine are much better, I've gone from 7 Gabapentins a day to 4 so that's good but everytime I try to cut down another daily pill I feel the stabbing starting behind my eye and above it. Also, if someone wears a bunch of perfume to work, it sets off a pretty good headache and I usually have to go home to work the rest of the day. I have different pain pills I take when the headaches get bad which they still do. And, it's always the same kind of headache, the stabbing, shooting pains around my eye. Computers, reading, anything that strains my eye I know can cause them. There are other days I get the bad headache and don't know what triggered it.

The headaches may also be from the Horners syndrome. My eyelid doesn't droop any more but the pupil in that eye still constricts some. Not as bad and noticeable as in the beginning but still smaller than my other pupil.

Just wondering when the headaches might be gone. The doctors don't know but I thought someone who has been through it would have an idea.

Thanks!
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I'm a 46 yr old fit, active female who was running 3 times a week and cycling. Prior to my CAD I did the P90X2 upper body workout. I think it was either the pull- ups or some of the weird weight moves on stability balls. Anyway, my symptoms didn't start till two days later. I was out walking my dog and suddenly my right eye felt like it was going to pop out of my head. It hurt really bad, but I figured it was sinuses. That night I had a rushing sound in my left ear opposite of the side where I had my CAD. I woke up to find my eye swollen and assumed it was sinuses. My neck and shoulders had been aching ever since my workout, but now the pain was incredible. My head hurt so bad I told the nurse on the phone my brain felt like it was going to explode. The VA prescribed me antibiotics. By Friday (5 days later) I decided to go to my Opthalmogist and he freaked out saying he thought it was Horners Syndrome. He didn't have the drops to test and I thought it was sinuses so we waited over the weekend. On Monday I saw a doc who ordered up blood tests but no MRI. I saw my eye doc again and he said I had Horners and needed an MRI. Tuesday I had one and was told Bout my CAD. Thursday I saw a neurologist who said my right front CAD was inoperable because it was at the brain stem. He said I was lucky because my blood rerouted maintaining thenWillis Circle and blood to my brain. I have no symptoms except my eye. It's been 2 mos and I feel pretty good. I have another MRI in a month. I've had passing symptoms mentioned here. For about two weeks I could hear blood pumping in my right ear constantly. It went away. I've also had sudden sharp pains in the veins in my neck and occasionally in my right ear, but they too have passed. It was wonderful finding all of you tonight. This has been a very scary ride.
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Hi! I'm glad you found the site, there's a lot of good information on here. Sounds like you are making a good recovery. Keep up us updated on your progress!
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Hello,
I know you are a ways farther in to you your CAD than I am but my headaches are very similar. Im about 5 weeks since mine happened and already they are sooo much better. The constant headache is gone but the stabbing pains like you describe get pretty bad. Sometimes they are triggered by sunlight or when I get to moving around a lot and getting my heart up I can feel pressure build in my neck and then the pains. Sometimes they seem to be for no reason, I'll be driving and they will suddenly hit me. I've had to pull over a couple of times. They usually start at my temple and shoot behind my eye or across my forehead. My Dr told me that even though the damage is on the inside of the artery scar tissue still builds on the outside of it. He said that there are a lot of nerves that run near your carotid and between the scarring and the inflamation (inflammation) there is just a lot of irritation. I hope this helps.
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It does help, thanks. Lets me know that it's normal and I don't need to run to the doctor! For me it's like all my senses on the left side of my face are hyper sensitive. Light, smell, and hearing. It has gotten a lot better though. I guess I just would have thought after 4 months it would be gone or after the CAD had healed. Guess not! Those crazy nerves. Although I can't complain too much about the nerves because that's what triggered the horners which told the doctors that something was wrong.

How are you feeling and when do you go back to the doctor?
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Im feeling ok for the most part. My neck willl get really tense during the day and feels swollen. The shooting pains come and go. Like you said everything on my left side is very hypersensitive. Went out of town last weekend and the elevation change was incredibly painful in my ear, it about made me sick. My left carotid is completely blocked and will likely stay that way so i hope it doesnt mean long term headaches. My mother works with a woman whos friend had the same thing happen that I did except she had a much more serious stroke than me. She passed out while working out and had here carotid totally blocked. Its been a year and a half and she is totally recovered and does everything she ever did before so I am optimistic. I have a hunting trip this fall I am hoping I can still go on. I go see the doc in two weeks. I'll keep you posted.
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Thanks for detailed account of progression of symptoms.  Am a 62 year old male.  Have high blood pressure, taking BP meds to control, have had 5 stints placed to open up coronary arteries, but generally feel good and work a full day with no issues.     About 6 - 8 weeks ago I woke up with stiffness and pain in my neck if I tried to turn  my head to left.   Also, after turning head to left, numbness began occuring to skin along left trapezius and shoulder area .  Would abate withing few seconds of turning head to center.   Seems like a  pinched sensory nerve.  But why?  I have not sustained injuries nor strained while working (A/C repair) .  Still, must be some type of mechanical compression.

Is still painful to turn towards that side and I hear very loud popping – crackling in neck.  Stiffness worse in mornings. Massage of neck, shoulders, back really helped for about 3 days then stiffness & popping returned.  Anti-inflamatories help a little especially Advil 800 mg. After 4 weeks I no longer can turn head all the way to left and numbness occurs when I try.

Three nights ago, while sitting in bed reading,  began having severe pain in musles, in the structures of throat, and facial tissues of left side. This is not a sore throat.  It is a deep burning pain to structures on the left side of neck and lower face.   Thought it might be angina , took nitro, no help.  Thought was severe heart burn: took Alkaselzer, then Tums: no help.  When this event occurs, the tissues on the left side of face are very sore to massage or squeezing.  Normally they are not.  I fall asleep around 2 -3 and when I awake at 8 the pain is gone.

The numbness seems to imply compression by a disc. As for the nocturnal, deep tissue and facial skin & muscle pain on left...I have no clue.    

Again, thankyou for your detailed accounting.  Your account makes it clear that it is important to check with a specialist:  Not sure of who to see will try a Vascular, ENT, or Neurologist first.   Hope mine info is of some help to others.  WIll post when get medical opinion


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Hi, I suffered a right internal carotid dissection last march 09th,2012, after a fall in the powder snow in Austria. I did not feel any pain , discomfort  or any other problem and went on  skiing for the rest of that last day of the ski trip. Took the plane the next day and flew home. Upon driving home from the airport, I started to have nausea, dizziness and headache. The next day, did not feel good at all and noticed that my right upper lid was drooping and my right pupil was smaller than the left one, and could hear the blood rushing through my artery on the right side. I went promptly to the ER where a scan was done and came out clear. An MRI and an angioscan done the next day confirmed the dissection 4cm long and an 85% occlusion. I was sent home and put on aspirin treatment only (81mg) and told to rest,no sports and no heavy lifting.
I was lucky enough not to have a stroke or transient attacks.
Two months after diagnosis, I was referred to an interventional neuroradiologist to evaluate the need for a stent. The specialist opted for a wait and see option since I had no serious neurological problems. I had some very painfull headaches and pain all over the right side of my head and face during the first 2 months; was treated with cymbalta which was very helpfull for the pain but with a lot of side effects. I am off this medication now
and have only a few occasionnal headaches. Unfortunately my Horner's syndrome is still present and has not gotten any better. I have not stopped working since I am self employed as an acupuncturist. I have started to treat myself for my Horner's but no results yet after 3 weeks . It helps me to read about other all your experiences with our problem, it makes me hope for the best outcome if I'm patient. Next scan scheduled only in 6 weeks.
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I have a left internal carotid dissection which presented with headache and TIA symptoms.  I am a nurse, and I lift heavy patients.  I've been off work for two months.  I am amazed at how little is published with regards to dissections and how vague my doctors are.  Activity restrictions...don't turn your head sharply??  Great idea, but what about normal work. I'm tired all the time, I get a weird foggy feeling sometimes, and my right arm gets tired very easily. I am really starting to get depressed about this whole ordeal and wondering how many of you have adjusted your daily lives to get through this. I'm on Plavix and I had a CTA done 6 weeks after the first incident that showed no signs of improvement. I presented to the ER at that time with a headache that pounded. It's difficult to sleep with the whooshing I hear in my ear.  How many people had stent vs. the wait and see approach.  I'm not comfortable with the idea of waiting to see if I have a stroke. I'm 40 years old and have a 10 year old.
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Hi I was just wandering how you got the ICAD?
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Hello fellow nurse! Im sorry to hear about your Icad. The first thing I want to say to you is it will get better it may not seem that way at the moment but day by day you will get stronger mentally,  physically,and emotionally. How long ago did your icad happen and where is your dissection located? These factors play a key in your healing. The location and extent of the tear will affect your healing time. They tend to say that dissections heal within six months if  the cause is not an underlying tissue disorder. I know it can be  beyond fustrating to find information about this and this site really helped me get through the tough times . Having a doctor who has treated icad patients and can answer all the questions we all may have is one of the keys I think to recovery do your research in your  area. As for the tiredness and whoosing in your ear I experienced both of these symptoms at first and I do not have these symptoms anymore Im five months post op and actually go for an mra on thursday fingers crossed all has healed!! As for working exercise ect dont  lift anything heavy or do anything that raises your blood pressure that is what you have to watch for to prevent a stroke.Good luck to you please message me if you need to
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My husband had his follow up CT scan yesterday.  It has been two months since his CAD and stroke.  Scan showed that left carotid artery is now 100% occluded. The blood clot was still in there, but the artery had healed and fused itself together around the clot.  That was not the news we wanted to hear, but neurologist said it will more than likely never reopen.  He said there was plenty of bloodflow to compensate from other arteries.  The doctor took him off warfarin and he will now take aspirin once a day.  We have another appointment in 6 months.  Neurologist was very pleased with his progress from the stroke.  He still has full use of his right side, but still working on speech.  That has greatly improved, but will continue another 8 weeks of therapy.  He has so many weird issues going on like dizziness and feeling like he is out of it.  Doctor said that is all a part of recovery from stroke and will get better.  This has been such an emotional roller coaster for our family.  I know that doctor says the occlusion should remain closed, but we have that fear that it will open releasing a clot and another stroke will occur.  
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Hi,

Thats great to hear that your husband is doing well. I am going in for my first follow up scan next Wednesday. Its been just over 2 months since my CAD. Mine is also occluded 100% so I understand the worry about more clots if it opens. My doctor said that the chance of that is very slim. He said once everything stabilizes that its basically healed shut and is safer overall. I also have a lot of issues still because of the loss of blood flow. The symptoms should get better as his body compensates, it takes time. New blood supplies will grow to the areas that need it. My doctor told me that because the blood flow is reversed above my blockage that I have areas that are somewhat stagnant causing problems in my ear and eye. Its getting better for me as time passes. Hes lucky to be off the warfarin so soon, I just had my dose upped to 15 mg a day.
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It is interesting that you mentioned your ear and eye.  Lately he has had a time with his left ear.  He always feels like he has fluid in it and it hurts.  Sometimes he also hurts in his left cheek area. I guess the blood flow could be his problem too.  We are scheduled to see a neuro optomologist on Wednesday.  They are just going to give his eyes a good check over.  He still sees the shooting star in the left eye from time to time, but neurologist said that could be a blood flow issue.  This is just going to be such a long recovery.  Speech improving everyday.  He is just so tired and I guess that is normal from stroke recovery.  I hope all goes well with you!
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sorry I didn't get this message sooner...my doc just told me I should have felt better after a week...referred me to a neuro doc for the headaches. "maybe you have arthritis" You know, I know that when my eyes feel like they shake or I have left ear pain, and that whoosh, I'm not crazy...I had my ICAD on May 6th.  I didn't have a stroke. I wasn't given any restrictions...and I am so frustrated I could scream.
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I am not sure if this has ever come up before but if you have had a CAD before you should get a very good doctor if you are considering LASIK. I had a very serious left side CAD back in 2006. It was exercise and exertion related. All is good now and I am off the Plavix.

A month ago I am thinking about Lasik and I go to the best Dr. in the city. I mentioned my CAD and he did one last test after passing all the others. He touched my corneas with a sterile QTIP. The left does not respond as well as the right and I am contraindicated for LASIK. He said that it is not well understood but cornea regeneration happens thorough the nerves which are affected by the CAD.

He even advises that I don't sleep with the overhead fan on to prevent my eyes from drying out. Your eyes are important. I can live without Lasik.
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Hello everyone! I just recently had a 6 month MRA done. Im still not healed all the way:( there is still narrowing in my right carotid. I have blood flow which is great six months ago I had none! I have been taking off the coumadin and put on asprin but having feelings of anxiety considering its not complete healed. Does anyone know how long it takes for coumadin to leave your system? I hope everyone is doing better!
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hi Bruce, in my experience, yes, my BP was normal pre-CAD and has been high post CAD.  220/130 was the highest. Doctors all think the high BP contributed to the CAD but I know my BP wasn't high previously.  I'm on medication for BP and have been told I might have to be on it permanently.  My first CAD was in August 2009, (didn't even know I'd had one) second one in March 2010 (resulted in a pseudo-aneurysm and put me in hospital for a week, and off work for 17 weeks)  I've since had a redissection of the 2009 CAD.  The pseudo-aneurysm has resolved but the CADs refuse to heal.  I'm now on an annual MRI.  Vascular specialists are 'not relaxed' about my condition.  
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It didn't take long for the coumadin to get out of my husband's system.  Just a few days after being off of it, he felt so much better.  I know they say some of the issues he was having was not a side affect of the medicine, but I believe they were.  He is now taking 325 mg of aspirin a day.  His carotid artery healed, but now 100 % occluded.  I am so glad you do have blood flow and I hope the rest heals soon!
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Hey guys. I had my 3 month CTA and follow up with the Vascular Surgeon. He advised that my CAD has pretty much healed completely which is great news. He suggested I stay on the coumadin through December and have another CTA then. He said that if I argued enough, he would allow me to come off the coumadin earlier. I sometimes still have tenderness in the neck area, and my left eye is still a little droopy (but 90% better than what it was) and the pupil is still a little constricted. Headaches non-existent. I took myself off of the metroprolol 3 weeks ago as I was feeling very light headed at times - much better now and my BP seems fine without it. Looking forward to getting off the coumadin at some point!

Did anyone start to get stomach discomfort after their CAD or whilst on coumadin? I have been getting discomfort mostly between my navel and right hip. I had an ultrasound and CT scan and nothing is evident. May just be a coincidence, but thought I would ask. The joys of turning 40 :(
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My husband seemed to have frequent bowel movements and stomach cramps too.  Doctor said that was not a side effect, but I believe it was.  He said that his stomach sometimes felt like it had its own heartbeat.  Don't know if that makes an sense or not.  Has not had these troubles since he has been off Coumadin.  Our neurologist called it rat poison.
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Hey Everyone,

Had my first follow up CTA scan last week. It was at 2 months from the day it happened. The blockage is still 100% occluded but has not extended up any further and the doc says at this point it shouldn't. The "middle cereberal" something artery is showing increased flow where it was greatly diminished before. Thats is why my headaches have gotten better he says. The rear carotid is much larger in diameter as well as another artery coming up to my neck from my arm. He said everything looks excellent and is compensating well and to have another scan in six months. He said keep doing what im doing and do more physically as I feel I can just being careful to not overdo it.
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Hi All,

I have started to blog my CAD experience and the after effects. You can read it at craig8686[dot]blogspot[dot]com[dot]au

Replace the [dot] with a . because this forum doesn't appear to allow the posting of URLs.
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Greeting all,

I am long-time reader/first time poster. :)
I am a 37-year-old male and had iCAD with a stroke a year and a half ago.   First, I have to say how much this forum has helped me to stay calm and patient, especially during the initial months.  It definitely does get better with time.  I am a professor at a top U.S. university, so I was very worried that my post-stroke brain won't be good enough to do science anymore.  But, the evidence so far looks very promising.  While I definitely tire more easily, and take longer to do things than before, the stroke didn't seem to impact the quality of my work, or my creativity.   So, for these just starting recovery: be patient and use the recovery time to relax, and maybe catch up on good reading. :)

I also have a question regarding Warfarin vs. aspirin.  My right carotid artery was initially completely occluded, but then after a couple of months, some small trickle of flow was seen on the CTA.  The problem is that this trickle didn't get any bigger over the last year and a half.  My neuro doctor says this is not great, and we should wait and see if it recanalizes, so he has kept me on warfarin (coumadin).  I've also talked to a vascular doc and another neurologist, and they both say, forget it -- it will never improve, so you might as well switch to aspirin.  

Is there anyone in similar situation?  I read a lot of bad things about warfarin on this list, but personally, I don't have too much trouble with it (my INR is pretty stable, so I only need to test it once a month or so).  But, on the other hand, I know that most people are taken off Warfarin much quicker (or are put on aspirin directly).  Anyone who has done research on warfarin vs. aspirin issue, I would love to hear about it before I see my doc next.  

Thanks,
-Alex    
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My carotid is also 100% occluded. My Dr. told me that it it remains blocked I will have to stay on asprin the rest of my life but if it opened up even a small amout i would most likely be on something like plavix. From what I gathered the doctors would prefer it to stay 100% blocked that way there is really no chance of clots forming and causing more strokes. A small trickle can allow clots to form and pass through putting you in danger. I would be more apt to listen to the vascular doc than anyone else. Please post and share any info you find. I would like to get off the warfarin but like you I doesn't effecty me too bad. I want to do whatever it takes to get back to being active. Yesterday was 4 months since my CAD and im pushing myself a little more all the time. Finally did some short (1 mile hikes) and am feeling better.
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I was 35 yrs old in 1995 when I was diagnosed April 1st with a left carotid artery dissection.  A serious tear from the center of the neck to the base of the skull.  My symptoms were mild in my opinion.  I would get this horrific icepick stab in my left temple.  Strong enough to stop me in my tracks.  But the pain lasted only seconds.  Because the pain went away I did not think it was anything serious.  I began to have pain in the left side of the neck as well as the back of the neck.  Then there were times I would get pain in my left temple and feel a tightening in my left eyelid.  This happened often when I would be driving.  I do not use my mirrors for fear of not seeing a object due to blindspots.  So I would turn my head to look behind me to pass, ect.  Not realizing I had a tear and I was making matters worse when I turned my head that one day while driving the pain was so severe that I had to pull the car off the road.  While on the side of the road I looked in the mirror and noticed that my left eyelid was swelled way out and that the eyelid was a purplish red color.  But the pain and swelling were gone within minutes.  After a week of discomfort I went to see my family doctor.  I told him about my symptoms.  He told me that I was having migraines.  I questioned him because loud noise and light did not bother my head.  Also, the pain did not last like a migraine.  I asked him about having only one eyelid swell.  He explained that everyone had their own unique kind of migraine and these were the sympoms I was experinecing.  I had no reason to dispute what he was telling me.
The nurse gave me shot and I was told that it would knock me out but when I woke up I would be feeling great.  I went home and slept but when I woke up I had the worse headache in the world.  A few days later the pain in the back of my neck and my shoulder was so severe that I decided that I must be suffering with a pinced nerve.  I contacted a Chiropracter friend and went to his office for a treatment.  While I was there my temple pain came on strong enough to make my left eyelid swell and turn purple.  My friend witnessed this and decided NOT to give me a treatment.  Instead, he ordered a MRI.  Before the results came back I began to get a burning sensation behind my left ear.  Felt like someone welding and burning me behind the ear.  This pain would last longer than the icepick pain but did go away.  I would get this icepick pain several times a day.
When the test results came back I was admitted into the hospital and told I had a tear in the left artery and experinencing TIA's.  First put on a heprin drop and then coumadin.  Spent only three days in the hospital.  I was told not to do anything and take it easy.  I was asked questions about my activities.and what I did that could have caused the diissection.  As a mother of 4 sons (2-16) I was very busy but did not do any kind of sports.  I had recently started working out a local gym but cautious not to do anything too strenious.

Two weeks later.............I felt this awful burning in the right ear.  Not a earache but a burning behind the ear. It was a Friday and I contacted my neurologist.  He worked me in and told me that the chances of having a second dissection without being in a car accident would be like winning the lottery twice.  I told him that the burning was there and there had to be a reason.  He ordered a sonogram of the neck arteries and the doctor performing the tests left the room coming back in with four more doctors.  I was told that this was extremely rare and that if I was not already on the coumadin I would most likely have suffered a major stroke or even death.

Doctors were conflicted on what to do for treatment.  Some suggested surgery, others disagreed.  I was referred to one doctor after another.  Finally, the 13th doctor, a Houston Neurologist, Dr. James Grotta was asked to see me.  He didn't struggle with making a decision or want to refer me to another doctor.  My lucky 13th doctor told my husband to take me home and keep me in bed.  I was not to get up except to go to the bathroom.  I was not to get excited or upset.  My husband did his very best to keep everything normal in our home.  How easy is that with a couple teenagers and a 2 yr old???  I was bedridden from April 1995 until Feb 1996.

After suffering what was referred to as being a Spontaneous Dissection of the Carotid Arteries life has a roller coaster ride.

More in next comment....................
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................................I did fairly well for several years.  The only side effect was a kink in the left carotid artery where the artery healed but in a zig zag about the middle of my neck.  I never had bad headaches until the dissection.  No problems on the right side but severe pain on the left side of the head.  I have intense pressure when my head lays flat.  So I have to keep my head elevated when I sleep by keeping it propped up on 3 pillows.
A small pseudo anerysm formed in the left carotid artery close to the left ear in a mass of nerves that affects the sinus area.  In the year 2000 this aneurysm was found and monitored.  By the year 2005, it had grown enough that Dr Grotta was concerned and the fact that the headaches were getting so bad and were so frequent that something had to be done.  Because my tissue tears so easy there were concerns about going in and clamping the aneurysm.  Dr Grotta teamed up with Houston cardiologist, Dr RIchard Smallings and together decided to insert a heart stent.  The reason for a heart stent was because the others at that time were stainless steel and there were concerns that inserting it could tear my tissue.  The heart stent was padded and inserted through the groin area just like a heart stent but pushed all the way up into the carotid artery.  Everything seemed to go fine.  I heard a snap when the stent was opened and immediately the ringing I had heard in my left ear for months was gone.  I was awake for this procedure.  When moved to my room I did began to experience pain in my left side below my ribs.  During routine examination one of the nurses noted that my left side was harder and larger than my right side.  She immediately went out and got Dr Smallings.  While he was checking me my blood pressure began to drop.  I was bleeding inside.  The area where they entered the artery had popped the plug used to seal the artery.  Although pressure was already being applied.  Dr Smallings personally applied pressure to my side for nearly an hour.  Once my blood pressure stablized and the bleeding stopped I was observed in the hospital for a couple days.  There was pain in my left side where this blood formed and took about a month to leave.  The headaches were better!  Doctors were not sure if this would prevent the headaches or not since the stent opened in the area of those nerves and the pressure from it could have caused more complications.

I felt that it was successful and my life improved until Dec 2009.  I had just turned 51.  It was the Christmas season and I was working full time.  I got up to go to work. While dressing I had problems getting my right foot into my shoe.  I should have known better but just thought it was because I had spent too much time on my feet the day before.  If that had been the case why wasn't both feet swollen?  But I didn't question it and continued to get ready and switched shoes.  My husband drove me to work.  When I got out of the car and walked up on the curve I suffered some unusual blurry vision.  My eyes are not perfect but I can get by without glasses or contacts.  So the blurry vision coming and going should have been my second red flag that morning.  But since I wasn't hurting I didn't let it concern me.  The problems with my eyes contnued through the next day.  I went to put on my eye makeup and realized that I had a grey glob in the center of my left eyes vision.  I thought that perhaps it was a cateract.  So I called a eye specialist and he immediately worked me in.  I was told that I had suffered a "eye stroke."  That I was very lucky that they clot did not go into my brain or I would have suffered a serious stroke.  I was also told that the grey glob in my vision was due to damage to the eye artery and the damage was permanent.  This left me with a ghost vision in the right eye.  I don't see two images but a overlapping of a image that I am looking at.  It took me 6 months to adjust to this change to my vision.  I have not been able to drive a car since this happend.  

For some reason, this incident has triggered the headaches again.  Routine tests performed in Feb 2010 found another small aneurysm located close to my left eye.  Like the first aneurysm, this one is being monitored to see if it grows.  The last year I have intense pressure in my left carotid artery.  I sometimes feel like it is going to pop.  The pressure goes up the neck and into my shoulder.  Tests show that I have more than normal white spots on the brain from the migraines or possible small strokes.  I get pressure in my left cheek with pressure on my left nostril.  There is pain that goes into my left ear like a ear ache and bruising sensations on my head like someone has pulled my hair really hard.  I am not allowed to lift over 8 pounds and I avoid lifting anything unless necessary.  I am not suppose to bend over more than needed either.

Routine tests results in June 2011 revealed another small dissection in my right carotid artery.  I was having some pressure in the right ear and at times I would hear a whooshing sound in the ear.

Because of the stent, I was told that I would remain on Plavix and Aspirin for life.  When the blood clot went into the left eye I was taken off the Aspirin and a low dosage of coumadin added to the Plavix (for life).  The Plavix with the aspirin did not do its job.  That was changed in Dec 2009, and so far no more clots and no additional white spots on the brain.

I am going to be 54 December 2012 and so far so good.  I do have some serious memory trouble that is also being tested and recorded on a yearly basis to see if I am dealing with something more serious.  I am not allowed to do any stenious excerrcise so I take it easy, watch what I eat, and keep my doctor appointments.  I don't take any symptoms for granted and call the doctor anytime something new comes up.

I have one sister that is in pretty good health.  My Mom is 75 and in excellent health.  My Dad was a smoker and passed away from COPD.  My parents both came from large families.  I have many Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  No one has what I have.  Doctors have told me that it is a variant of Ehlers Danlos and most likely genetic.  I have had the opportunity to go to some family reunions on my Dad's side of the family and meet some extended family.  It appears that some of my Dad's cousins grandkids have had or died from odd disorders.  A 22 yr old 3rd cousin on coumadin for a bloodclotting disorder died from a bloodclot.  Another distant cousin also had a carotid artery dissection, another a little 4 yr old boy had bleeding in his brain that appeared to be a vessel problem.  After meeting  these people or their families and hearing additional stories like these I have no doubt that there is something genetic going on.  I see symptoms related to Ehlers Danlos in my sons like double jointed, stretchy skin, ect.  I do not have the signs pointing to this genetic disorder like the four of them do.  So I do have concerns about their health and their future.  I am fortnate to have a caring and loving hubby.  I do not have to work like my sons do.  They are all grown now and two have already had to deal with some serious health issues.
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Hello- I had a number of mini strokes seven weeks ago a result  of a tear in my carotid artery. The tear is healing well however I have some concerning side/after effects which are inexplicable to my Dr's. Sporadically my legs are heavye my right leg feels numb and every day for a few hours a sensation comes over my whole body which makes me feel heavy, weak, tired and vague. I am taking 10mg of Warfarin each day. If anyone has experienced these symptoms I'd loved to hear from you as they are quite anxiety provoking.

many thanks
bronwen
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Hi everyone,
I have recently come across this page, and it is a real help to hear other people's stories, and hear everyone's feedback!
I am 27 years old, and 2 months ago, on August 20th, I had a stroke, and was in hospital for 9 days, while they tried to figure out why it happened.
I am as active as it gets, I am a dancer, and I dance pretty much every day of the week, run a dance school on Saturday mornings, and work as a stock manager in a shoe store, which is a very active job! I took part in the London to Brighton bike ride last year, and perform in shows and competitions with my dancing, as often as I can!
So you can imagine it was quite a shock for everyone who knows me, when they found out what had happened! I lost all feeling in the whole of my left side, but fortunately I have worked hard to regain most of it. I have had MRI, ct, ultrasound, echo, ct angiogram, you name it! First they found a possible hole in my heart, then what they thought to be a twisted artery,but with closer inspection, they have discovered an aneurysm, which is secondary to a dissection of my right internal carotid artery, and also another aneurysm on my left internal carotid artery. The dissection looks to have caused a blood clot, which travelled to my brain, and cut off the blood supply, causing the ischemic stroke.
It is a lot to get my head around,but each time the doctors tell me something new, I like to research it, and find out exactly what is happening to me. This site is so helpful, to see how this condition affects so many different people in so many different ways!
I have been told I am not allowed to do any heavy lifting ( which is what I do all day at work, so my job role has had to completely change ) no strenuous activity, or dancing for at least 6-12 months!!   Nothing that will manipulate my neck. This basically describes everything I love to do and am passionate about!! The types of dancing I do ( pole dancing, aerial silks, aerial hoops, street, Zumba) all involve strenuous lifting and manipulation of the neck, so hearing this was the hardest thing for me. I am not the person I am without doing what I love. I am usually so confident, happy, and I love being silly and making people laugh! But now, I am a shadow of my former self, and I am really struggling to find the pieces of me that I seem to have lost!!
All I want is for someone to tell me that things will get better, and someday soon, I can go back to what I used to be, and do what I love to do.
I am looking into seeing a counsellor as I think it will help me offload my frustration and pain.
Writing it down and putting it on here I think will help too, knowing that anyone who reads this will hopefully understand a little of what I am going through.
Thank you to anyone who took the time to read this,
Leah x
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I am wondering if your family Dr prescribed meds to help or the diagnosing DR...Our storey is so very similar except that my family GP will not prescribe any pain medication nor anxiety meds because she feels ùi should learn to deal with this over the next 6months of healing (waiting on advise of neurosurgeon to see if it will repair on its own) Left ICA dissection 50% occlusion. It is like she wonèt believe the pain I am in if I sit in one position for any period of time...her solution was to move every 10minutes:( My whole worl changed as I was a avid crossfit and hockey player and now after having to bug for 12weeks to get a CTscan that proved my injury Ièm feeling trapped in a broken body!!!!!Were there any vitamins or diet ideas that you feel assisted in healingÉ Ièd love to know anything that I can do.
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I just came home from the hospital a few days ago after being diagnosed with 98-99% occlusion of the right carotoid artery. I am 37 years old and have 2 young children. I exercise 2-3 times a week, eat healthy and only drink occasionally. All the tests I had done in the hospital indicate the dissection was spontaneous possibly from a run I had taken the day the symptoms started. I saw 3 different doctors the 8 days before I was admitted to hospital each diagnosing migraine. Finally (and ironically) it was during my annual pap that my primary care doctor noticed my pupils were different sizes. She sent me straight to the ER where I had CAT scan followed by MRI and MRA. I was then transferred to a larger hospital where I had a TIA and then spent the next 3 days in ICU. I am now home on Coumadin and the levanox shots until my INR levels reach 2.5. I still have eats he's an neck pain and am exhausted. Reading other posts on here I feel lucky to have come out of this without any long lasting damage, it was wonderful to read other peoples stories and see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Charlotte
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Hi,
I am a fit, healthy 35 yo police officer and mother of 2 from Australia and have just had an experience similar to many of you. I had 3 TIAs over five days. I went to hospital on the first occasion and after a ct and MRI was told it was an atypical migraine. I went again on the 2nd occasion and was seen by a dr for 5 minutes before again being told I had an atypical migraine. On both times I had blurred vision in my left eye and problems with speech and writing. About four hours after leaving hospital the second time, I had blurred vision then fell over as my right leg and arm had no feeling for about 10 minutes. My husband called the ambulance and we waited in the ed for over 6 hours before we were seen by a doctor. Only through the insistence of my husband was I admitted. The doctors consulted a neurologist in Sydney who didn't believe I had migraine and ordered a ct with contrast where they found the left CAD. I was put on heparin and flown to a hospital in Sydney within 2 hours. Four days later I had another TIA in hospital. Later that afternoon I had stent surgery and two stents put in place. I also had a minor stroke which thankfully hasn't resulted in any major damage. I feel extremely lucky. I am on aspirin and clopidogrel. i am just posting to share my story and thank you all for all the support and information on this site. I am also wondering when I can get back to exercise? I am not sure if I will be able to go back to general duties in policing as getting hit to the neck is not a good
idea!!! I have only been out of hospital for a week so am newly adjusting. Despite having a small stroke during the stenting, at least I know my artery is open and blood flowing. I do have mild FMD so do worry about the same thing happening on my right side. Thanks, taya
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Hi I'm wondering if anyone can give me advice on any symptoms you expierenced before being diagnosed with a Carotid Dissection. I am female, 30 years old live in Scotland and suffer Hypermobility Syndrome also known in parts of the world as Ehlers Danlos Hypermobile Type.

Around 5 weeks ago I painted my sitting room ceiling over two days and afterwards I was slightly shaky and sweating due to it being hard work that I probably shouldn't have done, over the next few days I just had normal neck and shoulder stiffness then I seemed to develop terrible headaches that moved around quite a bit, they were in no set place.  I knew then I had overdone it and blamed it on my Hpermobility and shouldn't have strained my neck so much at that angle while painting.  On the fourth/fifth day after painting I noticed I had a whooshing sound coming from behind my left ear and when I lay down it sounded as if I could hear my own heartbeat it was followed by waking the next day with terrible pressure behind my left ear and a bit sore on my neck just below my ear lobe.  It has gone five weeks now and I continue to suffer pressure behind my ear that is very uncomfortable, the whooshing/hearbeat sound only disappears when I'm sleeping and I have constant headaches that start at the side of my ear spreading to my eye socket and on the top of my head.  I visited my GP at the beginning of the week and explained the whole story, he checked my ear and said there was no ear infection but gave me an antibiotic ear spray called Otomize that has done nothing.  I have searched the internet constantly over the last three weeks and I continue to find the same thing a carotid dissection.  I'm not overly worried but I'm now wondering why my doctor did pick up on anything I said and now I will need to go back on Monday and explain what I've found, I'm scared I go back and he labels me a hypocondriac.
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Your symptoms do indeed sound very similar to a CAD. My vascular surgeon mentioned that dissections can occur from car accidents / rear endings, extending your neck when at the hair dressers, painting ceilings, prolonged coughing fits and so on.

My symptoms were similar – after a while I started to get mini TIA’s which resulted in me going to the ER. The medical community have a lot to learn in this arena so you may need to push. The vascular surgeon was able to diagnose the CAD from a CTA. Good luck!
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Hi thanks for your comment.  I have since been back to my doctors surgery and was seen by another doctor as mine was busy.  This doctor believes it is possibly something to do with the inner ear or possibly a sinus infection, the doctor checked both ears and said there is no infection but based on my symptoms she prescribed Amoxicillin 500mg x3 per day for five days and if I do not start to feel better then I have to go back.  I am on day 4 of the antibiotics and have no relief, the pain and pressure is still behind my ear and my neck below the ear lobe and the headaches continue.  I have noticed over the last few days that when I turn my neck I get a very strange off balance feeling.  I am no use to anyone and feel generally unwell with no energy and I am into week six of feeling like this.    
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Taya....I am a 32 year old police officer who suffered a CAD in June 2012 after being involved in a physical altercation with a suspect. My doctors will not release me to full unrestricted police duty out of fear of reccurrance. I was curiuous if you're hearing the same.
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Hi, my cad was about 6 weeks ago and I am still off work. I have an appt with my neurologist next week so will find out more then. I am definitely on restricted for about 4 months as I have 2 stents which need time to heal. Am not sure what will happen after that. Because I also have fibromuscular dis
My artery is probably more prone to dissection so am guessing I mite end up permanently restricted. Because yours happened on duty, are you on workers compensation? How are you feeling. Where do you work?
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Dear All,

I am very happy to have found this forum. It is the first one, and very very helpful one to find after my husband was diagnosed with Spontaneous Left Carotid Dissection leading to Horner's syndrome this early November. He was with wrong diagnosed and wrong treatment for two week after having the first symptoms.Given by three doctors, one of them in E&A here in Scotland. However we are mostly grateful and happy for getting right diagnose and treatment eventually. He is on aspirin and special pain killer (type of mild anti depressant) for the pain. Before this accident we were considering getting away at the end of April next year, as we are both foreigners here and we need to visit our families. I would like to ask does anyone has an experience travelling by plain with this condition. Is it dangerous? Any risk of complications? How did you feel during and after flight? Thank you very much for sharing your experience in advance. Best Wishes for the coming Christmas Holidays too.  
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Hi. I had a left CAD and had 2 stents placed. I flew (only an hour and a half flight) two days after I left hospital.  My neurologist said it was fine. I felt fine before, during and after the flight.
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I flew from East Coast to West Coast of the USA and back, still on low MW heparin injections ~ 1 month after a left sided CAD. I was a bit afraid of it, but my neurologist said it was OK. The flight was quite uneventful both ways. I flew again to Europe and back 1 month later, still on coumadine, the flights were OK again.



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Thank you very much once again.
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Thank you very much indeed.
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Hello to all and Merry Christmas,

I would like to ask if anyone suffering from CAD has ever been advised or just has decided to take food supplements as antioxidants or/and omega 3. A friend of mind recommended products from a British Company called Aqua Source and I have asked our GP about it but in general here they do not recommend any supplements, but just believe in natural healing which I am sure happens to my husband anyway. Please if you could share your experience in regards to food supplements that may speed the process and strengthen the system I shall be very grateful. Thank you very much!!!        
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I was 28 years old when i had a CAD caused stroke. I am a police officer and was, at the time, in good health. The doctors continue to tell me that
I am in great health "other than the coratid artery dissection and the fact I
had a stroke!" I am blessed my wife took me to the hospital so quickly. I am 29 now and am still on Coumadin. Im hoping the dissection heals itself.
Ive been on light duty since the incident. I really am hoping to go back to normal. I would say the word does need to get out that CAD strokes can happen to young healthy people. I would have never went to hospital. I thought I was just sick or something. Docs say that if I wouldnt have gone i would have severe long lasting affects.
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I was 28 years old when i had a CAD caused stroke. I am a police officer and was, at the time, in good health. The doctors continue to tell me that
I am in great health "other than the coratid artery dissection and the fact I
had a stroke!" I am blessed my wife took me to the hospital so quickly. I am 29 now and am still on Coumadin. Im hoping the dissection heals itself.
Ive been on light duty since the incident. I really am hoping to go back to normal. I would say the word does need to get out that CAD strokes can happen to young healthy people. I would have never went to hospital. I thought I was just sick or something. Docs say that if I wouldnt have gone i would have severe long lasting affects.
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Hello everyone. A year ago today I had a stroke due to an spontaneous carotid artery dissection. I posted on this forum from time to time to vent and just talk to people in my situation. Well today Im celebrating life!! Its been a long hard year but I made it. Since the stroke I have graduate nursing school and grew stronger and stronger everyday. Im pretty much my normal self going to the gym eating leafy greens being a mom, just being physically and emotionally stable and happy. So for those of you going through this life wrenching situation your gonna make it!!!! good luck to everyone
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Congratulations on life, healing and your graduation.  I have been following this site and your progress over the past few months.  
I had a right CAD with horner's syndrome, a stroke, and multiple mini strokes on May 2, 2012.  I would just like for everyone to know that I got my dissection from a long dental appointment. The ironic thing is, I have been in the dental profession for over 25 years, practicing as a dental hygienist.  I was the patient though.  I had never heard of this through all my years practicing. I thank everyone because this site has kept me sane. As of my MRA at the end of July, it was healing nicely but not yet healed completely.  Good blood flow though.  I go  back for another MRA on February 26th. Keeping my fingers crossed.  At first, the hospital I went to did not discover it...it wasn't until 5 weeks later that I went for a second opinion and they saw it on the MRA. So I was never on coumadin.  I was on the injections of low molecular heprain every day.  I was then taken off of it 3 months later and put on 81mg of aspirin 2x a day, which I am still on.  It has been a long struggle. But yes, you will feel better.  I still have some problems looking "up" with my eyesite.   I still get tired easily.  But I had recovered back the use of my left arm and hand and my eye site which I had problems with at the stroke.  I still have pain in my neck at times.  Wondering if others suffer with neck pain after many months?  I am at 9 months...other than that I am blessed to be alive and feeling much much better....and you will too.
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Hi,

I had a CAD last March, full occlusion on the left side, but luckily no stroke just a really bad headache for a couple of weeks and a mild Horner. My neurologist said that even if the dissection heals, the headache may stay for a long time. The dissection healed completely on the 3 moth MRA, and the headache was practically gone at rest. Nevertheless when I exercise, especially involving upper body workout, I often get a left sided mild or sometimes moderate headache and or neck pain.
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Hello everyone, I'm still suffering symptoms of an ICAD. I have been treated for non existent ear infections and a possible Spenoid Sinus infection. I am still suffering pressure behind the ear, a constant ache within the ear, whooshing sound, constant dull ringing in the ear(almost like an electrical noise as if you have left a tv on standby), constant ache on my neck below the ear lobe.  As soon as I exert myself the headache starts, it can be on top at the back or a burning/pins and needles like pain above my ear on temporal bone, even feels sore at times to touch the scalp. All of these symptoms are on my left side.  I have now been referred to ENT dept at my local hospital and I've been told it could take another two months. I have visited my GP surgery in total 5 times and A&E once, where I was treated as if I was an idiot and told it was a GP matter as I had already received ongoing treatment from a GP then I was to go back, no one seems to be listening to me.  I've explained over and over that I painted my ceiling and then I experienced pressure/earache within the ear with a whooshing noise and headaches but still two GP's believe that is just a coincidence. The third GP who referred me for a hospital appointment has said I am at a loss to what it could be but it's not an ear infection nor a sinus one as the antibiotics would of cleared it up.  I'll continue to post here if you don't mind until I get a diagnosis and maybe it will help someone.  Part of me thinks it isn't a CAD but then part of me tells me it's going to be something like that.  I wonder if anyone has had symptoms as long as I have before being diagnosed.
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I am several years post ICAD and still have signs of Horner's syndrome. My ophthalmologist has recommended that I get surgery on a muscle in my affected eyelid, and I have researched it and see that it can be an improvement and it doesn't look too complicated. However, he strongly recommended his partner to do the work, and it felt like he was selling me on it.
I see that my ophthalmologist's website advertises eyelid surgery, but that it is all for cosmetic reasons NOT related to Horner's. The latter surgery is on only one very ICAD specific muscle, and the usual eyelid lifting surgery is on more than that, and the best approach is different.

Has anyone on here had eyelid surgery for Horner's? How did it go? Did it work? Where did you have it done? (I am in North Florida.)
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How long have you been having these symptoms?  I take it you have had MRA's to confirm??? If you have and it has been confirmed, I would go for another opinion until you find a doctor who will help you.  When I was in the hospital with my stroke, they didn't even know I had a dissection, it wasn't until I went for a second opinion 5 WEEKS later that I actually got a diagnosis. I have a wonderful doctor now, that actually calls me up to see how I am doing through out my 8 months. Hang in there...it does get better.
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Hi...I just stumbled upon this forum...wishing I had done so years ago.  Misery loves company! Ha. Not sure where to start... My ICAD happened over 7 years ago.  I went to bed with a severe headache along with a whooshing sound in my left ear.  The next day my whole head was throbbing.  Before the dissection, I was a healthy, active, 45 yo who ran 4 to 5 times a week - which is what probably saved me.  I also never took anything stronger than a couple Tylenol now and then.  (I was later told the whooshing sound was a result of my coratid dissecting.)  Long story short - although I'm thankful I didn't suffer a stroke - I continue to this day to suffer a nonstop, 24x7, headache above my left eye and a small spot on the back of my head.   I'm told I will most likely have this headache for life.  I take 5 different meds - over 30 pills/day just to function.   It took a few years of therapy (I still go monthly) to help me adjust to my new "life".  I am soooo thankful for a strong support system (family & friends).  My family is the reason I finally got some (emotional) help as I'm positive I would have thrown in the towel by now.  I still have days where I feel I might lose my mind...instead I pull the blinds and curl up under a blanket.  My pity-party moments have become fewer and farther between.  I've stopped wishing for a day when my head is pain free...I'm definitely in a much better place now.  Please keep me posted on your status and thanks for allowing me to vent.
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Ok I am so happy to have found this page. I also had a right carotid artery dissection on 01/10/13. It started out three days prior with a headache, jaw pain and neck pain. I honestly thought I had a cold. The headache continued to get worse and on the third day I woke up with a droopy right eyelid, bloodshot eye, and constricted pupil. I am a nurse (Ob/Gyn), and so I knew something wasn't right. I went to the ED and I was lucky, they diagnosed me right away with Horner's syndrome and after a carotid angiogram they diagnosed me with a carotid artery dissection and admitted me for intravenous heparin therapy. I was only hospitalized overnight and they sent me home with Lovenox injections and Coumadin. I too felt like there weren't a lot of instructions for do's and don'ts except for foods to avoid while on coumdin, It's also very stressful not to know what symptoms to worry about and which ones to not worry about. It's so nice to see on here that my scalp pain and my intermittent neck pressure are common problems. I joined the Facebook Page today...better late than never!!
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Hi! My CAD was a year ago last month, doing so much better! I had still pretty bad neck pain at 9 months but at 12 months didn't have any, somewhere in those three months it finally went away. I had asked my Neurologist about it and she didn't think it was related, she said maybe I'm holding my neck stiff because I'm scared of moving it. I knew that wasn't it. That's why I like about this site, you find others who have experienced the same symptoms as you that doctors don't think are related. Reading that others experience them reaffirms to me that they are related.
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I'm so glad to hear you're doing so well! I too am working out again but not with heavy weights, the doctors hasn't released me back to 100% whatever I wanted to do. I'm at a 25 lb weight limit. But it does feel good to be back at the gym.
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I tried working out again after about 8 months and it made my headaches worse but at 12 months it's not affecting them. However, I went to the gym on Sunday, got a pretty a good workout. About an hour later I went to the grocery store and checked my blood pressure, it was really high 149/95. I've never had high blood pressure, it's always been normal so the high reading really scared. I have a doctor's appointment this afternoon.

Just wondering if you've checked your blood pressure after working out? I didn't know if there might be a correlation between working out post ICAD and a rise in blood pressure which could also cause headaches.  
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Hi sorry Ladydi18 I've just only noticed your reply.  I have suffered these symptoms now for nearly 21 weeks, it started on 24th Oct 2012 and its now 19th March 2013.  I have an ENT appointment next week that I waited 5 weeks for the referral and 11 weeks for the appointment , GP referred me on the 8th Jan and I got the appontment by post on 14th Feb for the 25th March.  I have had 5 GP appointments ( three different doctors), one GP phone consultation and one visit to A&E, at my last GP appointment on 30th Jan I was told to make a phone colsultation appointment if I was needing to go back for the same issues, other than that I was to wait for my hospital appointment and take anti-depressants.  No one is listening to me and I'm exhausted.  I've gone between thinking its possibly been a dissection to thinking its a sinus infection ( although I have no symptoms of a sinus infection) and now because its been so long and I'm still suffering I actually told my husband that I thought that I had something blocking or growing in my head and causing the pain and pressure within my ear and head.  The burning pain at the back/side of my head really alarms me as I've had it for so long. At the moment the whooshing/heartbeat noise has changed to a whirring noise, that changed a good few weeks ago, I woke up one morning and realised the whooshing was a different noise.  I still have the sore ear and pressure, also an ache below my ear lobe on the neck, pain above the ear on the temporal bone more so when pressed or touched, burning sensation/sore to touch on the scalp slightly towards the back of the temporal bone, pressure headaches that can be on top or at the side sometimes covering the left eye/brow bone and ocassionaly a pressure sensation on my cheek bone.  I just find it hard to describe the pain and sensations I'm feeling and I'm frustrated at my GP's not taking me seriously.  I'll update after my ENT appointment next week.
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Sure sound like CAD symptoms - particularly headache on one side (which would be the side the CAD is on) & sore scalp (called a palsy, caused by damage to the nerve which runs along the artery). Reading through, I'm sure you've noticed how many of us were misdiagnosed or sent home with no diagnosis - I was too, from a metropolitan teaching hospital, even though I had Horner's as well (drooping eyelid, constricted pupil on CAD side). (Have you studied your eyes for this? If it's there, pointing it out to your doctors might help.) In my case and many others, it's only the imaging which leads to diagnosis - and even there, my first CAT scan (no dye) wasn't enough.

You might consider putting yourself on baby aspirin (81mg, once a day) until such time as someone figures out what the problem is. It's roughly as effective as Coumadin if you do have a CAD.
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Thanks, that makes me feel better.  I had an MRA 2 weeks ago and I am finally healed.  I am at 10 months but my neck still bothers me a lot.  My neurologist also told me that my neck cannot hurt from the CAD.  I too disagree as you feel.  The neck pain is really the only problem left.  
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I think the biggest problem I have is living with the anxiety of all this that it could happen again.  I worry about it every day!!! My neurologiest tells me it won't happen again, I feel I live in fear everyday that it will. Not sure I believe it.  I am sure in time it will get better (it has been 10 months) How do all of you live with it?
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Hi there thanks for your reply.  The only thing I have different with my eye is that the pupil is larger, I noticed this when the headaches started. So the side where everything is sore with my ear and head is the pupil that is dialated maybe a 3-4mm than the other.  I mentiond this to the 3rd GP and he said it can be normal to have a dialated pupil with a headache.  I will update after my ENT app.
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I'm right there with you! I don't live my life in fear but it's always in the back of my head. I find I'm still cautious when carrying things, lifting weights and other physical activities. I actually heard a pop when my artery dissected although I didn't know what it was at the time, thought I pulled a muscle in my neck. Sometimes while I'm doing something physcial, I think, okay no pop, that's good. Hopefully a lot of this will pass with more time. Take care!
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How frustrating it must be not to know what's wrong. I went to my GP, he sent me to an opthomologist (because of the horners) and both doctor's agreed I needed to see a neurologist so they referred me to one. I don't know how your healthcare system works but do you have to be referred to a doctor like a neurologist, neuro surgeon, or vascular surgeon? On this site I've read where people have posted they were treated by these specialist. If you do have to have a referral, can you insist to your GP that he refer he? I hope you're able to get the kind of help you need soon.
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What did you do to cause the CAD and the pop?  Did you have a stroke too?
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Hi unfortunately I have no access to those types of doctors although after my recent Ear Nose & Throat appointment at hospital the other day I will be going back to my GP and asking to be referred to a Neurologist.  The hospital appointment was dismal, walking out the appointment room after my appointment I felt as if someone had kicked me in the stomach.  The doctor was nice enough and jotted down some of my symptoms, she checked both my ears, my throat, my nose, my jaw and my neck and glands.  I was then sent for a hearing test and a ear pressure test. I then seen the doctor again who told me "you have a muscular problem, you must have a sore muscle on your neck, your ear is fine and you have nothing serious wrong with you".  I questioned the fact that I have no muscle pain in my neck and can move my neck freely with no stiffness or pain( I do have a constant ache within my neck deep within my ear but its not muscular, I know what muscle pain is), I asked if the supposed muscular problem in my neck would cause  pressure and pain within my ear, tinnitus, pulsatile tinnitus, headache and burning head/scalp pain and the doctor said there is nothing wrong with your ear.  I said ok so what is wrong with me, I do not have a muscle pain in my neck and do not agree with you.  The doctor then asked me what I would like to happen, I said sternly I want you or someone else to get to the bottom of what is wrong with me I have suffered for 6 months and I'm no use to anyone. The doctors reply " you have nothing wrong with you that is serious but if your looking for a scan of some sort would you like us to do that?" Again I said I was there to find out what was wrong with me and if a scan was an option then I'd take it. The doctor then said "all the scan will do is put your mind at rest as the scan will rule out anything serious because you do enough for you not to have anything serious".  I was sent on my way and told I would receive an appointment for a MRI scan through the post.  So now off I trot back to my GP.
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Hello.  I've been reading everyone's posts and curious if anyone's doctors have told them stats on having a subsequent dissection if the first wasn't due to any sort of underlying disorder.  I had mine in May 2012, which led to a stroke (luckily very minor, though it was not a TIA).  I didn't go to the doctor for about a week (June 2012) and ended up in ER where they realized what was going on. Was in ICU for 4 days, then 4 more on telemetry unit. I was 38 at the time and healthy and no one seemed to know what to do with me.  I was only on Coumadin for about a month, then switched to aspirin and was given green light to get pregnant.  I am due to give birth in about 2 weeks and want to stop my aspirin until after the baby is born but my neuro refuses to tell me it's ok to stop.  I had a CT done in the fall and was completely healed.  I can't get an epidural if on aspirin therapy and need to know what to do, but no one will tell me.  I plan to try unmedicated birth but absolutely want to keep my option open for an epidural.  This is my 3rd child but first after the CAD.

I am so worried about delivering on aspirin and also afraid of what will happen if i go off of it.  I can't find any information that helps me.  Getting close to the due date and panicking.   Has anyone had children after an iCAD, and if so, were you able to deliver ok?  Anyone go off aspirin for any length of time or been told by their doctor it is ok?
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It sounds so wimpy but I was pulling weeds. I was sitting, facing forward and there was a big clump of weeds to my right. Rather than turn my body, I reached way over to pull them and while straining in the pull heard a pop.

I was very lucky and didn't have a stroke.
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That is wild,just pulling weeds.Glad you didn't have a stroke.  I had mine from a long dental appt. because my neck was hyper-extended for a few hours. Symptoms didn't start until a few days later though.  I am so careful now what I do.   Will be a long time before I go back to the dentist.  Crazy thing I am a hygienist...worked in the dental field for 25 years and never heard of such a thing.  At least I could clean my own teeth!!!
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I had a CAD in March 2012, full left side blockage but no stroke. I was on coumadine for 3 months, the follow up MR showed complete healing, my neurologist told me to stay on aspirin for another 6 months, he said I may drop it after that if otherwise not indicated. I still take it though, just in case. I do not think there are clear guidelines, or solid scientific data, but at least some physicians think it can be dropped. He said the chance of a recurring CAD is quite small.

I do not know anything about it in the context of delivery though, I would check it with a neurologist / OBGYN doctor.

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Can anyone advise? I have received an appointment for an MRI of the Auditory Canal (IAM) with and without contrast and also an MRI of the neck.  Would any of these show a dissection? I am so worried I'll have the scan and it will show nothing. Please see my previous posts about my symptoms.
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MRI w/ contrast is the best diagnostic tool for dissections. I would verify that the scan you are getting will also show any dissections of the carotid or vertebral arteries, not just in the neck, but in the head where they branch off. Also, could be something completely different since the pain has continued for months.
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thanks, I'm not too sure if they will concentrate on any area of my head since the pain is deep within the ear and neck and they are not bothered about the headaches and scalp pain, one GP laughed when I told him about the pain on my scalp feeling like spiders crawling across my scalp and feeling like someone has pulled patches of my hair out.  Yes I'm well aware it could be something totally different but after searching for months I can't relate my symptoms to anything or anyone apart from the people on here and what they have suffered, of course I haven't suffered any TIA's which many people do when they have had a dissection and I can't imagine what its like for those of you who have suffered one but hopefully I will eventually get a diagnosis on what it is and if anything it could help someone else so I'm hoping in the meantime to post on here(as long as people don't mind) until I have a diagnosis.  I've read all your stories on here and I believe people do suffer from head/neck pain for months afterwards.
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Hello!  I found this list after finally searching, thinking "I wonder if anyone else is as puzzled by this carotid artery dissection as I am, seems to be kinda rare" and voila!  Friends!
I am 3 weeks out of the hospital after 8 days in ICU and 3 more in observation.  Only two things I think I can add are that I had right carotid artery dissection, left vertebral artery dissection AND right vertebral artery dissection at the same time.  I went to the ER after stroke-like symptoms and a persistent ER doc insisted on MRI then CT with contrasy which showed the three dissections and got me admitted.  
I have 14 recorded "micro-strokes" and no long-term effects (well, 3 weeks out) but I was unable to stand or walk so the doctors placed two stents in the blocked carotid artery.
That artery had a large blood clot impeding blood flow and after 2 days of IV Heparin therapy but declining improvement, the doctors decided the clot wasn't going to clear with just Heparin. The titanium stent was intended to open the artery long-term but also squash the blood clot against the wall of the artery instead of waiting for it to break apart.
So far, so good.
I'm on Coumadin for 6 months and tapering off steroids (the word steroids makes me giggle) and taking lots and lots of blood pressure medication.  My blood pressure was high before.  Now it's so low it's a wonder I can stay awake all day.
What else ... I'm 44, mother of 8 children, I don't work away from home, and I'm not extremely athletic so no contact sports, trauma, anything to pinpoint how this happened except the day before I had the symptoms we were at the beach and my 6 year old son absolutely pummeled me in the waves ... but that's normal trauma for a mom, right?
It is absolutely amazing to me that some people can perform in Cirque du Soleil without injury and others of us can't have our hair shampooed at the salon without injury.  Amazing.
I was treated at the very excellent Army hospital in Honolulu where they did run every test imaginable and I came up normal or negative for every thing they could think of.  I'm hoping I don't have an underlying condition and can live without fear of this happening again.
Thank you for all of your comments and helpful attitudes toward each other.  I wish to help any way I can.
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On May 6, 2013 I was diagnosed with Right carotid artery dissection with formed pseudonymous  with neurological affects and now recovering from:
1. Right side of the tongue numbness/weakness-speech pat exercises-still difficult to eat and speak
2. Swallowing difficulties - self improving every day/adding speech pat exercises
3. Right vocal cord paralysis - speech pat exercises-no much improvement
4. Right shoulder/arm weakness -acupuncture helps-step by step improvement

I wonder if some one knows where else to read about my rare case on of which was described in 2007 in MedPub literature. I also interested if such cases connected with job environment as my impression that I got it because of work load and pressure. My position is Production shift supervisor in 24/7 facility with 25-35 people under me, 5 managers on the top.

Thank you in advance for any info about similar cases.
I located in Vancouver, BC, Canada
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From my experience if you have aneurism (aneurysm) or pseudo pseudo aneurism (aneurysm) which could have compressed nerves in the neck which signal to muscles to compress too - this is my case with shoulder/arm and partly neck  - so i was referred to acupuncture and IMS( inter muscular stimulation) what helping me now. O fcourse consult with you doc.
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My neurologist saying that MRI with contrast is where they could see even small dissections or aneurisms, etc.
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thanks, I had the scan and it showed nothing. The scan performed was of the Auditory Canal without contrast, apparently my symptoms does not warrant the use of contrast.  I'm glad to see this thread is still running and helping people.  I am however still suffering.  I still have a deep constant ache within my neck below my ear lobe.  I have a whirring noise within my head which has lessoned from a constant whooshing noise(like when having a baby ultrasound scan noise).  When the left side of my head is really sore the whirring is worse.  When I bend over to pick things up from the floor I get an almighty roar within my neck/ear & head, its very hard to describe but it feels like something is blocked.  I have visited 5 different GP's at my surgery and they have all said sometimes we can never get to the bottom of these things and can only treat the symptoms, so guess what they offered, yes they offered tramadol and anti-depressants.  I am now in the process of changing surgeries to find a new doctor who will help me discover what I am suffering from.
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Hi guys, i have a dissected right carotid artery and no strokes. It happened a couple of weeks ago. Im on Lovenox twice a day and have an appointment to see a neurologist the end of the month. Im 49, super healthy and not accustomed to medications so I'm wondering whether some of what I'm feeling might just be the drug. Does anyone else feel like gravity just doubles all of a sudden and you feel super heavy and slow? Then the aching headaches begin again. How long do the headaches stick around? The severity has decreased dramatically.
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I saw Rehab Doc who deal with after stroke patients and what he told me: new nerves grew 1 mm per month and this is very painful to tolerate but it is important part of the healing process as nerves trying to develop and find their way into body/muscles, so he told me be prepared for that. May be it is part of what you experiencing now, time frame from 3-24  months. Of course consult with your Rehab doc nor just neurologist.
Hope it helps.
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Hi,

I had an right internal carotid dissection about 1.5 months ago along with associated narrowing of the right vertebral artery.  I think it happened when I was lifting weights at the gym because I started getting the worst headaches of my life about half an hour after that.

I'm just trying to see what could have caused my arteries to be susceptible to tearing - all my inflammation tests are negative, I don't fit the bill for Ehlers-Danlos, etc.  The only thing I can think of is birth control pills - I started these about 7 months before the dissection (stopped it immediately afterwards).  Has anybody been on bc pills when they got their dissection?

Also, has anyone here taken Xarelto (Rivaroxaban) instead of warfarin?  My doctor switched me to this because my INR levels on warfarin were fluctuating too much.  If so, any feedback on this medicine would be greatly appreciated as it is relatively new and I cant seem to find too much out there.

Finally, does anybody know what the best centers/hospitals for treating ICA in the US are?
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i was hit by a car while riding a bicycle. I know the moment when my artery dissected. there as a hot poker feeling that went from my neck all the way to my left eye. That was 2004. Today, i wear a fentanyl patch and take oxycodone 4-5 times a day just to function. Sometimes the vision at the center of my left eye blurs, sound makes me jump and smells send a sharp pain through my left temple. There are days even with the opiates where i hide in my sensory deprivation room (laundry room, very very dark) for hours. I try every treatment that comes down the pike and as insurance companies will not pay for off label treatment the co$t$ are out of my pocket. Sorry i do not have uplifting news, but not everyone gets completely over a dissection..
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I am a vegetarian, active, non-smoking, normal wt  71 yo female.  No diabetes, bp is on the low side, etc.  Two weeks ago I was kayaking with a friend, lifting my 40 lb dog into the car, going to wt training 3 x week etc. etc The wt training had made me strong.  Maybe that was a mistake because I lifted alot of heavy stuff, hoisting stuff into my SUV.. I haven't eased gently into old age :)

Then I had a low grade headache that wouldn't go away and I thought it was sinus (allergies, whatever). One night it was so bad I couldn't sleep.  Next day, I felt good, headache gone. Went to change sheets on our bed.leaned over to lift up the mattress and fell over, paralyzed on left side.  called 911. Paralysis was gone when the EMT's came but they took me to the ER, anyway.  ER did a CT scan, saw "something" on the rt frontal lobe and admitted me. Daughter, a doc, thought that was amazing :since they rarely see anything on the CT like a stroke  -a CT  is not that sophisticated.  Next day they did every possible test and I was fortunate, in a way, with my age they took this "TIA" seriously. MRI, MRA, CT/angiogram, doppler, trans-esophageal something.

Bottom line : carotids were totally clear of plaque, heart was good.  They found a rt interior carotid dissection way up by the skull.  Occlusion around the dissection and a clot had formed in the part of the carotid that had "peeled away".  In hospital for 5 days. during which time I had the worst headache of my life one night . Everyone was great but discharge instructions were vague.

I have no paralysis or speech or mobility problems.  I'm very fortunate.

Went to PCP with doc daughter a few days after discharge.  PCP said he had rarely seen this condition and said there's not much literature on it.  Asked him about functional limitations.  He said: no driving for 3-6 weeks, no lifting, bending over (squat is OK), no straining for BM's,  and -yikes - no coughing or sneezing. I have to keep my head up and not turn it suddenly.  Can't do anything that would make a piece of the clot break off and go into my brain.  Basically said lots of limitations for 6 months at least.  I have cancelled travel with my husband (3 trips this fall) due to problems with lifting a suitcase, being jostled in a plane, jumping off a train to the platform in NYC, that kind of thing.  .

I can - and should walk only for exercise.Can't walk the dog because she might pull.

All this really *****, but to be honest all my functions are intact..  Good luck to everyone who has had this!   I never heard of this dissection problem before, my carotids are clear of plaque.
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Best of luck  to you.  Give yourself time.  You will be fine.  I had my right carotid artery with a stroke 17 months ago and I am doing just fine.  Symptoms have all gone away now.....but I am very careful not to lift anything heavy or do anything that will strain.  Mine happened from hyper-extending my neck so I am very careful about that.  You tend to learn what you can and cannot do.  I am feeling great now.  You are in my prayers.
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Thank you so much.  You know, they tell me not to  wonder about the cause of all this (but I do) and the day before this happened I had my hair done, leaning over the basin to get the color out. That is something I've done for years without a problem, but I do wonder.

Thank you for your reassurance about recovery and your prayers.
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This is some months after your post that I am replying and I hope you are doing well.  My symptoms only two plus weeks after my event are: waking up with a dull headache every night.  I get up and take a baby aspirin (I'm on Plavix) and sit up awhile until I feel better.  The headache might just be sinus, I don't know.  I don't have headaches during the day.  Sometimes I have a sore feeling running down my neck on the rt side.   Very tired, sleep alot.  Hope this helps.
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Read many places that hyper-extending your head at a beauty appointment can cause it.  Mine happened from a long dental appt.
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I am three weeks post CAD.  Still having a pounding headache for part of every day as well as shoulder pain on the affected side.  I have periods of slight dizziness and just feel crummy. Is this normal and how long will it last?
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I am almost three weeks post CAD now and get twinges of pain in my head during the day and headaches at night, waking me sometimes.  My tear and occlusion was way up in the artery, at the skull. They gave me trammadol to use for the pain but I prefer not to use it unless the pain is excruciating (which it hasn't been since I got home)  Still the headache pain is worrying, particularly since I had a headache all week and felt yucky, no energy before my CAD.  My daughter, a doc, said the headache was "vasospasm" and not to worry.  I guess this is all connected - headache, yucky feeling, no energy.   I'm not sure how normal this is but I hope this helps....
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Thanks for your reply.  It makes me feel like what I am going through is typical and not just something I am experiencing.  I am not taking anything for the headaches because they are tolerable.  I also feel a little off balance at times.  My pupils are still a different size and I hear the whooshing in my ear when I lay down to sleep.  Thanks for your reply it helps tremendously to know this is normal for now.....,
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Hello tarapatiki. I just wanted to reach out to you and give you a "Get well soon" I have not posted on this site for quite sometime Your dissection seems very similar to mine. My dissection was high up in my skull so a stent was not an option for me. My blood clot did dislodge from the torn artery and traveled to my frontal cerebral cortex of my brain. I did not any have underlying disease that could have caused this to happen. Like you I suffered a stroke but really have no after affects except my left hand I dont think will ever be the same. anyway it will be 2 years for me Jan 4. I know how hard this can be and its so sad how minimal info there is about this medical condition. You are in my prayers and I promise you it will get better. Hello to everyone else!
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Thanks so much for the words of encouragement.  I go to the vascular surgeon for a follow up and doppler on Tuesday  - it will almost be three months.  Hopeful they will see some changes.  My PCP says it takes 3-6 months to recover.  I'm still trying to figure out how this happened out of the blue to me.  I didn't have a sharp pain, just a gradual onset of symptoms, a worsening headache for a week or so. Here are some possible causes and I'm throwing them out so that others - physicians and pts - can possibly use the information. In the month or so before I had my CAD I did the following: Jumped on a trampoline with the grandkids and fell hard (don't laugh), carried my 41 lb dog to the car and hoisted her in because she hates cars, lugged  a very heavy large flower pot up a hill and then up stairs to our deck, pulled very heavy hoses around the yard, carried super sized bottled waters from the car to the house, lifted wts at the gym, hyper-extened my neck at the hairdresser and also by bending over using a sinus rinse.  I still have some headaches at night but never had to use the trammadol. Also some stabbing pains periodically on that right side of my head.  I'm still very tired.  I hope the info is helpful to everyone who goes through this awful experience.
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I just got the results of my latest doppler of my neck.  I had dissected Sept 18 so it is almost three months now. My dissection is resolving!.  I am so happy about that but still very tired.  My neurologist suggested a sleep study which showed I have severe sleep apnea.  No wonder I am always so tired.  I will probably need to use a CPAP at night.   I do not have headaches anymore and other than the fatigue feel quite well.  I still have absolutely no idea about how I dissected but I will just stay in the happy knowledge that I am healing.  Hope you get the same results.
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Oh, that is such good news. Such a relief. Congratulations!!!!! And guess what?  I just went yesterday to my vascular surgeon.  First, they did a doppler on both carotids.  I couldn't  hear the whoosh sound as loudly on the right as I could on the left.  And the tech was very supportive and sympathetic, wishing me good luck.  I thought, damn. Then I saw the doc who said my dissection appeared to be resolved.  I couldn't believe my ears.  He said no restrictions on activities except chiropractic or anything that would extend or snap my neck back. He said these dissections are  "random" and he had a curious lack of curiosity about the cause of my dissection (my daughter, a doc, says if you want curiosity about rare conditions, you go to an academic medical center). He told me (again) the story about the wife of a doctor in the next building to his (herself a doctor) who was helping the UPS man push his truck out of the snow and suffered a dissection from it.  But he said the good thing about dissections is that they will clear up by themselves, unlike plaque-clogged arteries that never clear up on their own and require surgery (endarterectomy)

I came home from the doctor's office and took a seven hour nap.  Relief, I guess.

Good luck with your CPAP.  It sounds like it severe sleep apnea might be the cause of your tiredness.  I had a sleep study in the middle of all this and they said only mild apnea.  

Very happy for you!!!  Report back on your tiredness and if the sleep study helps.  Thank you for your support. This is a very stressful condition. It feels like someone has a gun to your head and you never know when they are going to pull the trigger.
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I lifted weights (with a trainer) for several months before my dissection. In fact, the day before I had a mild transient stroke due to my rt carotid dissection,( even though I was feeling lousy and had a severe headache), I went to the gym (and also to the hairdresser).  However, I'm not sure this was the cause of my dissection.  It could have been a lot of other activities.  I never had the pain in my neck that signals a dissection.  Just headache and felt lousy/lethargic/out of it. Self-medicated with Excedrin which possibly prevented me from having a major stroke (all the aspirin in Excedrin).

They put me on Plavix in the hospital and even though my doc said my dissection has resolved he said I should continue on Plavix for a year since that was the "Standard of Care".  I'm taking a baby aspirin, too. Cvering all bases.  He said fine.    Don't know what factors enter into the decision to use coumadin or Plavix with each pt.  

Good luck finding a center for CAD.  There should be some good ones out there. Cleveland Clinic or Mayo?  I'm fairly satisfied with local treatment but if my CAD hadn't resolved, I'd search for second, or third opinions.
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I am new to this forum and grateful to have found this.  I am a female in my early 40s and recently learned I had a ICAD at C2 with a subsequent small aneurysm.  This after almost a year of an "inner ear infection" and a six week period of LE weakness on the opposite side of the dissection which was diagnosed as a running injury and physical therapy was sought for strength training.  I am on aspirin only.  My biggest complaint is a burning sensation on same side of head and neck as dissection.  I had dizziness and an imbalance that I just learned to live with.  That seems to be getting better.  My ear pain is improving and the pulsation in my ear is decreased.    I was restricted to indoor running but am able to workout (no yoga, no chiropractor, no ceiling painting, and still scared to lift weights).  

I realize how fortunate I am.  This experience taught me that we need to listen to our bodies.  My ENT doctor did everything right including ordering an MRI...the diagnosis simply got missed by the radiologist until further testing was done.

thanks to all of you that contribute to this blog.
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This forum is unbelievable!  I can't believe that I stumbled upon this accidentally when looking to see how long it takes to have a CAD heal.  Seems like there are a variety of times.  I tore my artery mountain biking in October.  I had an MRI a month and a half after the injury in December and they did find that it is starting to heal.  They have given me clearance to run and to not lift anything over 30lbs.  Is this the correct information?  When it first happened I was not sure what was going on.  I thought it was a reaction to medication I was taking.  I ended up going on a trip to Dubai for a week for work and couldn't figure out why I was so light headed and forgetful of words.  I came back and told my wife to take me to the ER.  They gave me an MRI and CT Scan and the results came back that I had a CAD, a pseudo aneurism (aneurysm) which caused a small stroke in my frontal lobe brain.  I was suffering tremendous headaches at the beginning.  They prescribed Vicodin and then switched to Flexeral which seemed to do the trick.  After two months the headaches have for the most part subsided.  I still get light headed from time to time when I over do things.  I have just learned to deal with that.  Also if I am too active my face will suffer from tingling in my face as well as pain in my neck on the side of the CAD.  I have been nervous to do anything active until this week.  I went jogging for two miles on Monday, rode a stationary bike on Tuesday for 20 mins, and did the elliptical for a half an hour yesterday.  I accompanied this by lifting 20 lb arm curls afterwords.  I was completely worn out afterwards and still suffering from the numbing sensation in my face and pain in my neck.  Is this something I should be worried about or should I just take it easy and not try to do so much?  I am worried that the Neurosurgeon does not know enough about my diagnosis.  Any thoughts out there? Thank you very much to whomever started this forum.  It has given me a tremendous amount of information about what happened.  More than the doctors so far!!!!
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Yes I have had the same symptoms.  Post injury I had headaches and dizziness.  After two months the headaches have vanished but I still get light headed as well as numbness and tingling in my left side of my face.  This is the same side as my torn CAD.  The artery has started to heal after the first scan and I return for a 4 month scan next month.  Not sure what will come of it.  I hope good news.  I find that if I overdue it, that I get the lightheadedness back as well as pain in my neck.  Do you have the same symptoms? I used to take Vicodin and now I just take 325 mg of aspirin a day.  If the headaches are really bad then I will take a single dose of Tylenol.  That is it though.  Anything else that works?
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I get stomach cramps to from time to time but I am not on any of the medication except for aspirin.  
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Hi...Glad to be amongst like-minded folk. Diagnosed with internal left carotid artery on 51st birthday following blindness in one eye a few minutes after go-karting. A clot had formed and blocked my retinal artery but excellent work from on-call orthopaedic NHS consultant resolved most of the vision issue..3 hours of intensive work at midnight and beyond. CAD diagnosed by MRI the following week following investigations into cause of clot. Completely occluded. Unlike some I spent no time in hospital and the diagnosis of stroke just floored me. Previously fit and well and non-drinker, non-smoker. Obviously restricted with driving and work but the brain needs recovery so trying to relax (its not easy though is it?). So encouraged to hear of many peoples stories and their three month scans (I have been promised similar) but having doppler scan in two weeks. I feel I am being well looked after and know I am already on the road to recovery....but sometimes I guess the road may not be the expected direct route, but its sometimes fun to explore. Good luck to all previous writers and I hope future ones find comfort in what they learn from an excellent forum.
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Well, I'm really no expert but here's how it has gone for me. I hope it's helpful.  I had my symptoms (transient left sided paralysis) on Sept 18th, 2013.  In the hospital, after my diagnosis, they told me to "take it easy" for 3-6 months and the vascular surgeon said they would do a doppler in his office.in about 3 months.  My PCP the next week told me not to drive for 3-6 weeks, not lift anything, not to bend over, avoid sneezing, coughing, straining, etc.  It was helpful to have these guidelines. He never mentioned lb limits to lifting  but I assumed nothing over 20 lbs.  My dog is strong and pulls on her leash so I hired a dog walker for her. I really tried to be very cautious.  I don't know what caused my CAD and it could be something random or trivial. I didn't drive until after I saw my vascular surgeon in mid-Dec. When I got that doppler my vascular surgeon said my artery was clear and I had"no restrictions".  But....I'm still very cautious. The clot apparently has dissolved and that's why my artery is no longer occluded but I think the artery wall must still be somewhat fragile. I had previously been doing strength training  and walked/ran on a treadmill, kayaked, lifted heavy stuff, etc.. Now I am only doing 20 minutes on a treadmill daily and plan to work up to more....very slowly. I've had lightheadness periodically that I think must be related to the CAD (I never had lightheadness before) and I've been really tired, although the tiredness has gotten better and is not as bad as it was in the beginning.  I have some problems retrieving words or names  - not too often but once in awhile.. .I think that might be related,  I recently have had some periodic pain in my neck (rt side) and mild headaches which I hope are sinus headaches   My sense is - as a layperson - that if symptoms recur after exercise, you are overdoing it.  Best to get back into an exercise routine  slowly.  again, that's me.  I don't think I will ever do yoga again (neck stretching), or kayak, or - most assuredly not jump on a trampoline. I'm on Plavix for a year.  Good luck!!!  It's a terribly scary thing. Makes you face mortality and requires modifications in thinking and behavior - at least until your body tells you that you are OK.
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Just re-read your post and it is filled with wisdom.  I hope you have continued to mend and feel swell.
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Need some help from all of you.  I'm a 38 year old male. Play ball or run three times a week.  For the last five weeks I have had a headache (which never climbs higher than a 6 if a 10 is a migraine, resonating from my left temple that spreads across my scalp, down to my jaw, behind my eyes, and behind my ear.  I feel like I am on a boat, have a hard time focusing of an evening, and am very fatigued.  My neck is stiff and the left side of my face (check and eye) tingle and feel swollen. It is tender to touch the left side of my face and head.  Five weeks ago the symptoms began about 2 in the afternoon and grew more frequent and started earlier.  Now they are constant but I feel my best in the early morning.  I have had an MRI and it stated that my brain was fine.  Has anyone else had these symptoms?   What are your suggestions for me?  Husband and father of two - scared.  
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You definitely need more medical testing.  An MRI by itself might show nothing.  What about a doppler to detect an obstruction in your carotid due to a clot forming after a tear?.  Headaches should not go on like that.  Your physical state has changed.  I felt strange/fuzzy for about a month before my symptoms got worse....headaches for a week and then a clot broke away from the occlusion and caused temporary paralysis in my left side.  Rt interior carotid was occluded 95 percent.  Don't let this continue without further testing and a dx.
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How are you feeling?  Have you had an MRA of your neck and brain?  These tests are different from M r I in that they focus on the blood vessels.
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I'm glad to have found this forum.  In November, I started having terrible headaches.  The kind that would wake me in the middle of the night with throbbing pain and nausea.  Several visits to the doctor resulted in misdiagnosis of sinus or migraine issues.  After having temporary loss of vision in one eye and 3 MRIs, they determined dissections.  

I was admitted to the hospital in December (it took several weeks to determine the cause of headaches) where I had an angiogram. Shockingly, I had 4 dissections! Both carotid and vertebral arteries leading to the brain were dissected.  Miraculously, I didn't suffer a stroke.  I don't have a trauma or event that can be linked to the dissection.  I was extremely fit, running most days and doing cross fit exercise.  

I've been on Plavix, aspirin, and blood pressure medicine to allow healing.  At the 3 month mark, I had another CTA. Dr feels I am about 90% healed but continued me on meds and exercise restrictions.  I am only allowed walking....no running, weights, lifting, etc.  At the 5-6 month mark, I will have another CTA and hope to come off the medicine.  I still have the weird twinges in the head, neck and ears.  The awful whooshing sound finally stopped at about 3 months out.  

I know it is very rare to have 4 dissections.  What tests should I ask for to determine an underlying issue? Has anyone heard of Cross fit causing dissections?  I've seen a few specialists but everyone is hesitant to do anything til I'm fully healed.  I don't seem to have any indicators for Marfans, etc. although FMD might be a possibility.  I'm thankful to God to be here and glad to be feeling mostly normal.  Thanks for any insight others can offer on underlying causes.
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Did you ever find out about supplements? Husband had carotid dissection - on warfarin and bp meds.  Would like to use natural.  What is your experience?
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Good luck to you!!!  I had my rt interior carotid artery dissection 6 months ago.  No attributable cause.  Headache for a week before sudden left sided paralysis. .  Very active lifestyle, wt training 2-3X week, etc. Have always had low blood pressure, no other physical problems.  I still have some weird raw/sore or stabbing sensations in my head, neck,  temple, particularly when lifting groceries or exercising too much.

There's just not that much information available because CAD is a rare event. Frustrating!!  My personal, subjective opinion is that these "spontaneous" dissections must be due to some pre-existing anomaly in the artery, a weakness in the artery that is not one of the syndromes (FMD, Horners, Marfans) that is discussed in the medical literature. Many people who get these spontaneous dissections are youngish, healthy, very physically active people.  Also, primary care doctors often have never seen this condition, ordinary people have never heard of it. It's hard to get definitive answers.  If you have had four CADs, I'd say definitely there is an underlying condition causing this, it's not a random event.  But getting a test to determine a cause is going to be hard. I'd search for answers, consult the best experts in the field. But finding them is hard!!  And sometimes they disagree.  There is an aneurysm center at Hopkins where a friend of mine who had an aneurysm (not CAD) was treated successfully.  Some place like that - multidisciplinary - like the Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic might be able to help.

The only exercise I do now is walking on the treadmill.  I lift groceries, etc. but am careful.  I drive but still am careful about turning my head.  If the symptoms (twinges, stabbing pains) go away completely at some point, I'll increase activity.  After a year I'll be off Plavix.

Again, good luck!!

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Has all healing occurred?  Did you use any supplements?
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I've seen several people mention wearing a blood pressure monitor while exercising.  What kind do you wear?  Is it a watch (like heart rate monitor) or wrist cuff.  Thanks.
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I experienced a spontaneous left carotid artery after I had receieved unwanted pressure on my neck.That was back in 2000. After a severe headache and disorientaion for 3 days I finally went to my GP who noticed that one of my pupils was a lot more dilated than the other, She had me in hospital very quickly where the main specialist decided that I had a migraine, and with 12 students arlound my bed, explained how he knew that. They wanted to do an mri before I went home, but they put me at the end of the queue until I said I was leaving because I could manage a migraine at home. The MRI happened and a severe CAD discovered which immediately changed my medical position in the queue. I take clopidogerel, and bp tabs, and leads a fairly normal life, though often with pain. Now at 14 years on, the pain has increased a lot, I know hey cannot operate, so I deal with it as I can Every evening I take 1 or 2 mersyndol which enables me to sleep through pain, and am doing okay, but I feel I could be coming closer to my use by date going by pains I experience.
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