Carotid artery dissections: Thrombosis of the false lumen
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Carotid artery dissections are the second leading cause of stroke in young adults. The hemostatic response to a dissection involves exposure of the subendothelium to the intravascular environment. Platelet activation/aggregation superimposed by secondary coagulation cascade activity attempts to heal the injury. Failure of the hemostatic response to heal the injury may lead to further rupture of the intimal and medial layers, which allows for the blood to penetrate these layers to create a false lumen. Continued hemorrhaging into the false lumen may result in dissection progression or obstruction of blood supply to the true lumen and downstream blood vessels. The effects of thrombosis in the true versus false lumen may lead to opposite consequences. True lumen clotting may lead to ischemic complications of downstream cerebral vasculature, whereas false lumen clotting may lead to dissection healing. Current information on clinical outcomes and degree of false lumen clotting in a carotid dissection model is limited, and most of the available information on this controversial topic has been inferred from aortic dissections. Therefore in this report we summarize the present state of knowledge of the pathophysiology, detailed hemostatic response to the injury, clinical presentation and treatment of carotid dissections. We also emphasize the need for future studies to investigate the degree of false lumen clotting on the clinical outcomes of carotid dissections.
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