Adenovirus-Vectored COVID-19 Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombosis of Carotid Artery: A Case Report

Objectives

Venous thrombosis and thrombocytopenia after vaccination with the adenovirus-vectored COVID-19 vaccine ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (AstraZeneca) have been linked to serum antibodies against platelet factor 4 (PF4)-polyanion complexes. We here report vaccine-induced isolated carotid arterial thrombosis.

Methods

Imaging and laboratory findings, treatment decisions, and outcome of this case are presented.

Results

Eight days after having received the first dose of ChAdOx1 nCov-19 vaccine, a 31-year-old man was admitted to our stroke unit with acute headache, aphasia, and hemiparesis. D-dimers were slightly elevated, but platelet count and fibrinogen level were normal. MRI-confirmed mainstem occlusion of middle cerebral artery resolved within 1 hour after the start of IV thrombolysis. A wall-adherent, nonoccluding thrombus in the ipsilateral carotid bulb was identified as the source of embolism. Cardiac or paradoxical (venous) embolism was excluded. Screening for the presence of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia–related antibodies was positive, and highly elevated serum IgG antibodies against PF4-polyanion complexes were subsequently proven. Treatment with aspirin and subcutaneous danaparoid, followed by phenprocoumon, led to thrombus shrinkage and dissolution within 19 days and favorable clinical outcome.

Discussion

Vaccine history is important in patients not only with venous but also with arterial thromboembolic events. Vaccine-induced immune thrombosis of brain-supplying arteries may well be handled.

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