Carotid Dissection and Cerebral Infarction From Posterior Oropharyngeal Trauma: The Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenges
Posterior oropharyngeal trauma commonly occurs in children and frequently presents to the emergency department (ED). Rarely, serious infectious and neurologic sequelae result. Emergency providers are tasked with the challenge of diagnosing the minority with life-threatening complications while maintaining thoughtful stewardship regarding radiation exposure. A previously healthy 2-year-old girl sustained trauma to her posterior oropharynx with a toothbrush that resulted in a left carotid dissection. This dissection was diagnosed in the ED via computed tomography angiogram, Otolaryngology and neurosurgery were consulted in the ED, and anticoagulation therapy was initiated with aspirin. The child did initially well and was without neurologic deficit and no brain ischemia on magnetic resonance imaging. She was discharged home on aspirin therapy. Four days after initial injury, the child returned to the ED after a seizure. Computed tomography scan of the head demonstrated infarction at the junction of the left parietal and temporal areas. Although neurologic complications are rare, posterior oropharyngeal trauma in children is not. There are many diagnostic and therapeutic challenges in its management. This case is, to the authors' awareness, the first case report in the English literature of a known and treated carotid dissection in a child after posterior oropharyngeal trauma that resulted in stroke despite diagnosis and initiation of treatment. The diagnostic and therapeutic challenges of posterior oropharyngeal trauma in children are discussed in this article.