Volume 48, Issue 6 (November 2003)
Hyperextension and Rotation of Head Causing Internal Carotid Artery Laceration with Basilar Subarachnoid Hematoma
Hyperextension of the head can cause injury to the vessels at the base of the brain. These lacerations are believed to be caused by stretching of the vessels due to the abrupt movement of the head and rotational acceleration of the brain within the cranium, and they usually occur in the intracranial portions of the vessels, producing a subarachnoid hemorrhage. This is the case of a 35-year-old man who received a blow to the face that forcefully hyperextended and rotated his head to the left. Autopsy revealed an intracranial right internal carotid laceration extending from a calcified atherosclerotic plaque. This unusual injury may be due to a combination of blunt force applied to the head and the alteration of the vessel's structural and functional capacities secondary to atherosclerosis.