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Massive haemorrhagic transformation in cardioembolic stroke: the role of arterial wall trauma and dissection


The pathogenesis of massive haemorrhagic transformation is not well established. Fatal haemorrhagic transformation associated with in situ dissection after acute middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion in a patient with atrial fibrillation is reported. An 80 year old woman with atrial fibrillation developed mild hemiparesis and aphasia. Brain CT and MRI at 4 and 5 hours, respectively, of symptom onset showed proximal MCA trunk occlusion with developing striatocapsular infarct and hypoperfusion in the superficial MCA territory. A few hours later, she developed massive bleeding into the ischaemic area and died. Pathological examination showed MCA trunk dissection, surrounded by a subarachnoid clot which communicated with the cerebral haematoma. It is suggested that direct arterial wall trauma as a result of cardioembolic MCA occlusion caused bleeding into the infarct. Secondary in situ dissection may be an overlooked mechanism of haemorrhagic transformation.

  • cerebrovascular diseases
  • haemorragic transformation
  • cardioembolic stroke
  • intracranial dissection

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