Category: Neurology

Cervical (Carotid OR Vertebral) Artery Dissection

Cervical artery dissection is a rare but significant cause of stroke and headache/neckache, which is easy to overlook. Leading to a typically delay in diagnosis of 7 days. Unfortunately imaging the cervical arteries is not simple, with MRA being the method of choice. Hence these patients must be referred to the “Stroke Consultant”.

Read more

COVID-19 Vaccine Induced Thrombosis/Thrombocytopenia (VITT)

Inclusion Criteria [Both of]:

  1. Received AstraZeneca (AZ) COVID 19 vaccination within 42 days (typically 5-42 days from immunisation)
  2. New Onset thrombocytopenia (PLTs <150×109/L) – with or without Thrombosis
    • 5% of cases have had a “Normal” Platelet count at presentation
      • High index of suspicion repeat bloods next day
      • ‘High index of suspicion’ in this context is day 5- 28 post AZ vaccine with new onset headache or abdominal pain which is atypical and severe in nature.

Initial Investigations:

  • FBC– specifically to confirm thrombocytopenia <150x 109/L
  • Coagulation screen and D Dimers
  • Blood film to confirm true thrombocytopenia and identify alternative causes

PROBABLE CASE: (ALL 3 criteria)

  1. Received AZ COVID 19 vaccination within 42 days
  2. New Onset thrombocytopenia (PLTs <150×109/L)
  3. D Dimers > 2000 mcg/L

URGENT Scan to confirm the suspected clot.

[If patient doesn’t fit “PROBABLE CASE” proceed to usual treatment]


Condition specific advice:

Central clot:

  • inc. Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST), Pulmonary Embolis (PE), Splenic, Proximal DVT
  • Discuss with Haematologist
  • Admit Medicine

Suspected DVT (scan unavailable):

  • Treat with Rivaroxaban (Do Not use Dalteparin/LMWH)
  • Request Ultrasound
  • Return AAU Next Day
  • Safety-net Advice

Confirmed Distal DVT (Not above inguinal ligament)

  • Platelets  <100×109/L – Discus with Haematology
  • Platelets ≥100×109/L – Treat as normal

Thrombocytopenia only

  • Platelets  <100×109/L – Discus with Haematology
  • Platelets ≥100×109/L – Treat as normal

Treatment (will be directed by Haematology & Specialist teams):

Avoid:

  • Heparin Based anticoagulants
  • Antiplatelets
  • Platelet Transfusion

May Require:

  • IV immunoglobulin
  • Steroid
  • Anticoagulation with: DOAC, Fondaparinux, Argatroban

Further reading

 

Primary Intracerebral Haemorrhage

In anybody who there is suspicion of a non-traumatic haemorrhage arrange an urgent CT Head.

All patients need IV access and  U&E, FBC, Coag

If CT confirms PICH (not traumatic, not SAH): –

Anticoagulation

If anticoagulated with warfarin or NOAC discuss with stroke consultant and Haematologist regarding reversal

If not anticoagulated give Tranexamic acid – 1g in 100mls Saline/Glucose over 10 mins followed by 1g in 250mls Saline over 6 hours.

Blood Pressure

BP needs to be <150/80 – use labetalol (max 400mg – until BP <160 or HR <50) and GTN infusion

Neurosurgical Referral

Not all patients with intracerebral bleeds need referral to neurosurgery – you could save yourself and your patient a lot of time and effort!

Those to refer:

  • GCS 9-12/15 with lobar haemorrhage
  • Isolated intraventricual haemorrhage
  • Hydrocephalus on presentation
  • Rapid deterioration following arrival (gcs drop by 2 points or more in the motor component)
  • Cerebellar bleed

Admit those not going to Neurosurgery to HASU at CRH after discussion with Stroke team