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Open Access Open Badges Case report

Vertebral artery dissection associated with viral meningitis

Xudong Pan1, Aijun Ma1*, Kun Wang1, Shumin Nie2 and Mei Wu3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, The Affiliated Hospital of the Medical College of Qingdao University, 59 Haier Road, Qingdao, Shandong Province 266100, PR China

2 Department of Ultrasonic Diagnosis, The Affiliated Hospital of the Medical College of Qingdao University, Qingdao, Shandong Province, 266003, PR China

3 Laboratory of Human Micromorphology, The Medical College of Qingdao University, Qingdao, Shandong Province, 266071, PR China

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BMC Neurology 2012, 12:79  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-12-79

Published: 22 August 2012



Vertebral artery dissection (VAD) is often associated with trauma or occurs spontaneously, inevitably causing some neurological deficits. Even though acute infection can be related to the development of spontaneous VAD (sVAD), VAD associated with viral meningitis has never been reported in the literature.

Case presentation

A 42-year-old man with fever, sore throat, and runny nose developed sudden onset of occipital headache, vertigo, transient confusion, diplopia, and ataxia. Brain stem encephalitis was diagnosed initially because the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) study showed inflammatory changes. However, subsequent diffusion-weighted (DWI) magnetic resonance imaging of his brain demonstrated left lateral medullary infarction, and the digital subtraction angiography (DSA) confirmed VAD involving left V4 segment of the artery. Consequently, the patient was diagnosed as VAD accompanied by viral meningitis.


This case suggests that viral meningitis might lead to inflammatory injury of the vertebral arterial wall, even sVAD with multiple neurological symptoms.

Vertebral artery dissection; Cerebral ischemia; Viral meningitis; Infection