Hyperdensity of the Basilar Artery on Postmortem CT: A Potential Indicator for Basilar Artery Thrombosis

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Abstract

Basilar artery thrombosis constitutes 1% of all types of stroke, carries a mortality rate of up to 90%, and is one of the rarer causes of sudden death. It leads to brain stem ischemia and commonly presents with impaired consciousness, cranial nerve palsy, hemiplegia or quadriplegia, and sudden collapse. Clinically, the diagnosis of basilar artery thrombosis is made on clinical symptoms, along with a hyperdense basilar artery in antemortem computed tomography (CT) scan. To our knowledge, whether a hyperdense basilar artery indicates basilar artery thrombosis on postmortem CT scan is not documented in the literature. We present a case report of a 55-year-old man who on postmortem CT scan showed a hyperdense basilar artery and was subsequently confirmed to be a fatal basilar artery thrombosis. We suggest that a hyperdense basilar artery on postmortem CT should prompt the pathologist to consider basilar artery thrombosis.

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