This case discusses a 34-year-old active duty male who presented to the emergency department with a 2-week persistent headache. His initial review of symptoms was reassuring until a detailed neurologic examination on his second visit revealed a visual deficit in the left upper quadrant. Additionally, he complained of intermittent tension headaches for the last several years but had no history of diagnosed migraines until he was seen 4 days prior for empiric migraine therapy in the same emergency department and left without improvement in symptoms. On his return visit, computerized tomography scan with intravenous contrast revealed a left vertebral artery dissection and hematoma. The patient was admitted for medical management and subsequently found to have suffered a small infarction of right lingual gyrus cortex on magnetic resonance imaging. This case illustrates the importance of maintaining a broad differential diagnosis and high index of suspicion in the patient with new focal neurologic findings in order to diagnose a potentially fatal disease.
Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States 2021. This work is written by (a) US Government employee(s) and is in the public domain in the US.