, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 98-103

First online:

The “dense artery sign” — major cerebral artery thromboembolism demonstrated by computed tomography

  • B. SchuknechtAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroradiology, University of WürzburgInstitut für Diagnostische Radiologie Inselspital
  • , M. RatzkaAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroradiology, University of Würzburg
  • , E. HofmannAffiliated withDepartment of Neuroradiology, University of Würzburg

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A 4 years review of high resolution thin slice (3–5 mm) computed tomography performed within 24 h after cerebral infarction revealed increased density in a major cerebral artery segment in 28 patients. Arteries affected were the vertebral and basilar artery in 6 and 8 patients, the sphenoid course of the middle cerebral artery in 13 cases and the extracranial internal carotid artery in 1 patient. In 35.7% of cases the so called “dense artery sign” provided earliest evidence of the ensuing infarction documented by CT controls in most patients. Angiography carried out in 8 patients, density caculations in the course of the affected vessel and resolution of the increased density on subsequent CT examinations suggest thrombembolism as the most likely etiology. In the clinical setting of acute stroke increased artery density encompassing the entire vessel diameter may serve as an early indicator of major cerebral artery occlusion and prompt angiographic investigation of a lesion potentially amenable to lysis.

Key words

Cerebral infarction Thrombembolism Computed tomography Density quantification Magnetic resonance imaging