Vertebral artery dissection (VAD) is often associated with trauma or occurs spontaneously, inevitably causing some neurological deficits. Even though acute infection can be related to the development of spontaneous VAD (sVAD), VAD associated with viral meningitis has never been reported in the literature.
A 42-year-old man with fever, sore throat, and runny nose developed sudden onset of occipital headache, vertigo, transient confusion, diplopia, and ataxia. Brain stem encephalitis was diagnosed initially because the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) study showed inflammatory changes. However, subsequent diffusion-weighted (DWI) magnetic resonance imaging of his brain demonstrated left lateral medullary infarction, and the digital subtraction angiography (DSA) confirmed VAD involving left V4 segment of the artery. Consequently, the patient was diagnosed as VAD accompanied by viral meningitis.
This case suggests that viral meningitis might lead to inflammatory injury of the vertebral arterial wall, even sVAD with multiple neurological symptoms.