Internal Carotid Artery Dissection in a Community: Rochester, Minnesota, 1987–1992

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Background and Purpose

Cervical internal carotid artery dissections are diagnosed with an increasing frequency, but reliable epidemiologic data are not available. The aim of this study was to determine the incidence rate of spontaneous cervical internal carotid artery dissection in a defined population.


Using the medical record linkage system used for epidemiologic studies in Rochester, Minn, all patients diagnosed with spontaneous cervical ICA dissection for 1987 through 1992 were identified.


A total of 10 patients with spontaneous cervical internal carotid artery dissection (6 women and 4 men; mean age, 44 years) were identified. For the period 1987 through 1992, the average annual incidence rate for all ages was 2.6 per 100 000 (95% confidence intervals, 0.9 to 4.2).


This study, for the first time, provides incidence rates for spontaneous cervical internal carotid artery dissections. No diagnoses were made before 1987, probably reflecting an increased awareness of the disorder among physicians. (Stroke. 1993;24:1678-1680.)

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