[Skip to Navigation]
Images in Neurology
February 14, 2022

Pulsatile Superficial Temporal Artery: A Sign of Carotid Dissection With Stroke

Author Affiliations
  • 1Pioneer Neurohealth, AdventHealth Tampa, Tampa, Florida
  • 2Department of Neurology, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, Tampa General Hospital, Tampa
JAMA Neurol. 2022;79(4):414-415. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.5382

A 41-year-old man with hypertension developed pulsatile tinnitus in his left ear, a left-sided retro-orbital headache, and blurred vision 3 days after cracking his neck to relieve stress from aviation work. His wife noticed a swollen blood vessel on the left side of his head and took a photograph on her cell phone (Figure 1A) of his acutely engorged and pulsatile left superficial temporal artery (STA). She brought him to the hospital, where his blood pressure was 112/63 mm Hg and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) revealed an acute left internal carotid artery (ICA) dissection (Figure 2A). On fat-suppression sequences of the MRA, a semilunar hyperintense signal indicated an ICA intramural hematoma. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated multiple small acute infarcts within the anterior circulation territory of the ipsilateral hemisphere (Figure 2B). The appearance and distribution of the strokes indicated embolization from the ICA dissection. He was given therapeutic anticoagulation with intravenous heparin. Hours later, his STA was no longer bulging; it had soon normalized in size and pulsatility and appeared unremarkable on a follow-up photograph (Figure 1B) at that time.

Add or change institution