Cervical spondylosis: A rare and curable cause of vertebrobasilar insufficiency

Department of Surgery, Service of Neurosurgery, Hôpital Notre-Dame, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM), 1560 rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, QC, H2L 4M1, Canada.
European Spine Journal (Impact Factor: 2.07). 09/2013; 23(S2). DOI: 10.1007/s00586-013-2983-2
Source: PubMed


Spondylotic vertebral artery (VA) compression is a rare cause of vertebrobasilar insufficiency and stroke.
A 53-year-old man experienced multiple brief vertebrobasilar transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) and strokes, not apparently triggered by neck movements. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) documented consecutive infarcts, first in the left then right medial posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) territories. Angiography showed two extracranial right vertebral artery (VA) stenoses, left VA hypoplasia, absence of left PICA and a dominant right PICA. Computed tomography angiography revealed right VA compression by osteophytes at C5-C6 and C6-C7 levels. No further vertebrobasilar insufficiency symptoms occurred in the 65 months following VA surgical decompression. Our literature review found 49 published surgical cases with vertebrobasilar symptoms caused by cervical spondylosis. Forty cases had one or more brief TIAs frequently triggered by neck movements. Three cases presented with stroke without prior TIA, with symptoms suggesting a top of the basilar artery embolic infarcts (one combined with a PICA infarct). Six cases had both TIAs and minor stroke. VA compression by uncovertebral osteophytes at the C5-C6 level was common. Dynamic angiography done in 38 cases systematically revealed worsening of VA stenosis or complete occlusion with either neck extension or rotation (ipsilateral when specified). Contralateral VA incompetence was found in 14 patients.
Spondylotic VA stenosis can cause hemodynamic TIAs and watershed strokes, especially when contralateral VA insufficiency is combined to specific neck movements. Low-amplitude neck movement may suffice in severe cases. Embolic vertebrobasilar events are less frequent. VA decompression from spondylosis may prevent recurrent ischemic episodes.

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    • "It may be associated with paresthesia, muscle weakness in limbs, and severe pain in neck, shoulder, and back [2]. Cervical spondylosis may also contribute to spinal cord dysfunction, vertebrobasilar insufficiency, and even myelopathy, that is, the most severe sequelae [1, 3–5]. Besides, cervical spondylosis is prevalent in population at any age, especially for elder people. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper, we carried out a randomized controlled clinical trial to explore the effect of 12-words-for-life-nurturing exercise on patients presenting with cervical spondylosis. After exercise intervention, the mean VAS and NDI scores of the patients decreased significantly and the scores of BP, VT, and MH in SF-36 Health Questionnaire were significantly higher. Exercise therapy showed significant effect on relieving pain and improving vitality and mental health. The 12-words-for-life-nurturing exercise may be a potential effective therapy for patients with cervical spondylosis.
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: To study the relationship and changes of cervical MRI, TCD and BAEP in patients with "isolated" vertigo. Methods: The relationship and changes of cervical MRI, TCD and BAEP were investigated respectively in 125 patients with "isolated" vertigo and 100 healthy controls. Results: There were statistically significant differences between two groups for overall abnormalities of TCD (X(2) = 61.96, P<0.01), BAEP (X(2) = 97.99, P<0.01), and cervical MRI severity scale (Z = -8.71, P<0.01). In vertigo group, results showed significant correlations between TCD and cervical MRI, TCD and BAEP as well. And analysis on TCD PI and some items of BAEP demonstrated positive linear correlations. There were no statistical differences or correlations in control group. Conclusions: TCD is a sensitive method of "isolated" vertigo screening. A combined test protocol of cervical MRI, TCD and BAEP has superiorities to assess "isolated" vertigo.
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    ABSTRACT: Cervical spondylosis is one of the extrinsic factors causing vertebral artery stenosis. Several case studies have reported compression of the vertebral artery induced by cervical osteophytes that has resulted in posterior circulation infarcts (POCI). However, to the best of our knowledge, no studies have yet analyzed differences in the risk factors and stroke subtypes between ischemic stroke patients with cervical spondylosis and those without. In the case-controlled study reported here, we analyzed the risk factors and stroke subtypes in ischemic stroke patients with and without cervical spondylosis. Characteristics in all the recruited patients with POCI and non-POCI were further compared to extract other risk factors that could predict the occurrence of POCI. We filtered out ischemic stroke patients with cervical spondylosis ("Stroke+C" group) by International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes. We analyzed the data of 38 subjects in the Stroke+C group and 152 sex- and age-comparable ischemic stroke patients without cervical spondylosis ("Stroke-C" group). We recorded the demographic characteristics including sex and age, and stroke risk factors, including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, heart disease, hyperlipidemia, and smoking habits. The stroke classifications were defined by the Oxford Community Stroke Project classification. All subjects were further categorized into POCI or non-POCI groups. The ultrasound findings of the vertebral arteries (extracranial and intracranial) in the Stroke+C group were also recorded. More patients in the Stroke+C group tended to have POCI (34.2%) than patients in the Stroke-C group (17.5%) (odds ratio [OR] =2.41, P<0.05). Furthermore, hypertension (OR=3.41, P<0.01) and cervical spondylosis (OR=2.41, P<0.05) were two independent risk factors for POCI in ischemic stroke patients. Ischemic stroke patients with cervical spondylosis are more prone to POCI than those without cervical spondylosis. Hypertension is another identified risk factor for POCI in ischemic stroke patients. The occurrence of POCI should be highlighted for patients with cervical spondylosis.
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