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Dissected Vertabral Artery

  My stroke was said to have been caused by a dissected vertabral artery. A bloodclot formed which then traveled to the cerebellum causing the stroke, at the age of 40 yrs. old. Is this type of a stroke rare? What is the cause? What are the chances of another stroke? This artery is presumed to be damaged so should there have been surgery done to this artery, to repair it? It has been 6 yrs. since the stroke but I experience daily headaches and pain/stiffness in the back of my neck. What, if anything could be done about this?  Many Thanks, Peg  

Dear Peg:
Vertebral artery dissections are a rather uncommon cause of strokes.
Most commonly dissections in a young person are cause by trauma to the neck
or back of the head. There is however a certain proprotion of people with this
problem that do not have a trauma history and the cause remains unknown.
Once a dissection is diagnosed the patient is usually placed on blood thinners
for a while. This prevents blood clots from forming while the artery repairs
itself. After a few weeks the blood thinner is stopped.
No surgery is indicated to repair the artery. I am not sure as to the cause
of your neck pain. This may or may not be related to the dissection. I would
however encourage to have this looked into by your neurologist.
I hope this helps!
Good Luck!

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