Optic nerve injury-associated blunt cerebrovascular injury: Three case reports

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Blunt cerebrovascular injury (BCVI) is a rare complication that may occur after craniocervical trauma. The current literature is limited to extracranial carotid artery injuries; however, no reports have been published on blunt intracranial carotid injury (BICI), especially those associated with optic nerve injury.

Patient concerns:

Here we report on 3 BICI cases that demonstrated optic nerve injuries after craniofacial injuries. All 3 patients showed post-trauma vision loss on the injured side.


Optical canal fractures can be found in these patients, and carotid sulcus was compressed by the fragments. Computed tomography angiography (CTA) and digital subtraction angiography (DSA) were performed in all 3 patients.


Case 1 was given no further treatment, except for symptomatic support and rehabilitation therapy. Case 2 was treated with antiplatelet therapy for 3 days, and then a stent was inserted in the injured internal carotid. Case 3 received antiplatelet therapy and a internal carotid compression test was performed simultaneously for 2 weeks, then the injured internal carotid was completely blocked.


Case 1 developed cerebral infarction that resulted in unilateral hemiplegia. Due to timely treatment, the remaining 2 patients had a better prognosis.


CTA should be performed primarily to exclude vascular injury and for CTA-positive patients, a further DSA should be performed to investigate pathological changes and for a definitive diagnosis. At last, the current therapeutic protocols for BCVI are not entirely applicable to intracranial vascular injury, and appropriate protocols for the treatment of BICI should be selected based on the combination of test results and the actual condition of the patient.

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