Objective: To investigate the prevalence of connective tissue abnormalities in patients with spontaneous cervical artery dissections (sCeAD). Methods: We systematically assessed clinically detectable signs of connective tissue aberration in a series of consecutive patients with sCeAD and of age- and sex-matched patients with ischemic stroke unrelated to CeAD (non-CeAD IS) by a standard examination protocol including 68 items, and performed extensive molecular investigation for hereditary connective tissue disorders in all patients with sCeAD. Results: The study group included 84 patients with sCeAD (mean age, 44.5 ± 7.8 years; 66.7% men) and 84 patients with non-CeAD IS. None of the patients with sCeAD met clinical or molecular diagnostic criteria for established hereditary connective tissue disorder. Connective tissue abnormalities were detected more frequently in the group of patients with sCeAD than in the group of those with non-CeAD IS (mean number of pathologic findings, 4.5 ± 3.5 vs 1.9 ± 2.3; p < 0.001). Eighty-one patients (96.4%) in the sCeAD group had at least one detectable sign compared with 55 patients (66.7%) in the group with non-CeAD IS (p < 0.001). Skeletal, ocular, and skin abnormalities, as well as craniofacial dysmorphisms, were the clinical signs more strongly associated with sCeAD. Signs suggesting connective tissue abnormality were also more frequently represented in patients with sCeAD than in patients with traumatic CeAD (28.6%, p < 0.001; mean number of pathologic findings, 1.7 ± 3.7, p 5 0.045). Conclusion: Connective tissue abnormalities are frequent in patients with sCeAD. This reinforces the hypothesis that systemic aberrations of the connective tissue might be implicated in the pathogenesis of the disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology