Thalamic infarction secondary to cervical manipulation

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Vertebrobasilar infarction is a well documented complication of cervical manipulation. A commonly proposed pathogenesis is an intimal tear of the vertebral artery leading to cerebellar and other posterior fossa lesions. However, there have been no cases of thalamic infarct reported. This case demonstrates a thalamic infarction concurrent with brainstem and cerebellar infarction secondary to cervical manipulation and intimal tearing of the vertebral artery. Immediately following manipulation, the patient developed nystagmus, quadriparesis, and a speech deficit. After an aggressive course of in-patient rehabilitation, the patient progressed to a community ambulator with deficits in speech and perception. This case demonstrates one of the inherent risks associated with repetitive forceful cervical manipulation. © 1993.




Sinel, M., & Smith, D. (1993). Thalamic infarction secondary to cervical manipulation. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 74(5), 543–546.

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