AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology

TIPIC Syndrome: Beyond the Myth of Carotidynia, a New Distinct Unclassified Entity.

PMID 28495942


The differential diagnosis of acute cervical pain includes nonvascular and vascular causes such as carotid dissection, carotid occlusion, or vasculitis. However, some patients present with unclassified vascular and perivascular changes on imaging previously reported as carotidynia. The aim of our study was to improve the description of this as yet unclassified clinico-radiologic entity. From January 2009 through April 2016, 47 patients from 10 centers presenting with acute neck pain or tenderness and at least 1 cervical image showing unclassified carotid abnormalities were included. We conducted a systematic, retrospective study of their medical charts and diagnostic and follow-up imaging. Two neuroradiologists independently analyzed the blinded image datasets. The median patient age was 48 years. All patients presented with acute neck pain, and 8 presented with transient neurologic symptoms. Imaging showed an eccentric pericarotidian infiltration in all patients. An intimal soft plaque was noted in 16 patients, and a mild luminal narrowing was noted in 16 patients. Interreader reproducibility was excellent. All patients had complete pain resolution within a median of 13 days. At 3-month follow-up, imaging showed complete disappearance of vascular abnormalities in 8 patients, and a marked decrease in all others. Our study improved the description of an unclassified, clinico-radiologic entity, which could be described by the proposed acronym: TransIent Perivascular Inflammation of the Carotid artery (TIPIC) syndrome.