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What is VAD – Vertebral Artery Dissection?

As a personal injury and medical malpractice law firm, we are exposed to all types of medical conditions and must delve deep into medical literature to understand our clients’ situations in order to prevail in our medical malpractice cases. One example is VAD or vertebral artery dissection.

What is vertebral artery dissection? Vertebral artery dissection (“VAD”) is a tear of the vertebral artery which is located in the neck and supplies blood to the brain.

When a VAD occurs, blood may enter the arterial wall through the tear and form a blood clot or clots which causes a thickening of the artery wall. When the artery wall thickens, there is a restriction of blood flow to the brain. All of this can lead to a stroke or a series of strokes which can have devastating effects on a person including permanent brain damage.

Causes of VAD

Sometimes people can experience VAD for no apparent reason. Some experts believe that certain health conditions are risk factors for VAD. For instance, high blood pressure, smoking, and kidney disease are sometimes associated with dissection. However, more often than not, VAD is a result of some sort of physical activity or accident.

Causes of VAD may include:

  • Serious blunt neck trauma from incidents such as a car accident, sports injury, or violence
  • Bodily functions like blowing your nose, sneezing, or vomiting
  • Hyper-extending your neck for long periods of time (Have you ever painted a ceiling for several hours?)
  • Deep tissue neck massages
  • Chiropractic adjustments and manipulations

Worst Case and Other Scenarios

As mentioned above, a stroke is the worst outcome for a person with vertebral artery dissection. Before suffering a stroke, most people with VAD experience dizziness, impaired vision, hearing loss, neck pain, headaches, and vertigo. Clients we represented who suffered VAD following a car wreck reported intense neck pain and impaired vision as if they had been drugged.

Often, people report experiencing what they describe as “the worst headache of their life.” If you have symptoms like these, you need to be taken to the hospital immediately. While strokes from VADs remain rare, it is reported that VAD is the likely cause for people under the age of 45 in approximately 25% of stroke cases.

We Have the Experience

The Baer Law Firm has handled VAD cases from both automobile accidents and chiropractic manipulations. Causation is typically an issue in dispute especially if there is a delay between the trauma and VAD symptoms. We have the experience and resources to determine the causes and nature of your injuries in medical malpractice and personal injury cases. Our goal is to provide honest advice, quality counsel, and compassionate care throughout the legal process, from consultation to compensation.

If you were seriously injured by another’s negligence, we encourage you to contact our office at The Baer Law Firm or call us at 404.THE.BAER (404.843.2237).

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