Bow Hunter’s Syndrome in Children: A Review of the Literature and Presentation of a New Case in a 12-Year-Old Girl

Meredith R. Golomb, Katrina A. Ducis, Mesha L. Martinez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Background: Bow hunter's syndrome, or occlusion of the vertebral artery with head rotation leading to ischemia and sometimes stroke, is rarely described in children. The authors review the literature and present a new case. Methods: Both OVID dating back to 1946 and PubMed records were reviewed using the terms (“Bow hunter syndrome” OR “bow hunter’s”) OR “rotational vertebral artery occlusion” combined with “child,” and limited to English language. SCOPUS and the bibliographies of cases found in the search were used to identify additional articles. Results: Twelve articles were found describing 25 patients; there were 26 patients when combined with our case. Ages ranged from 1 to 18 years. Most (88.5%, 23/26) were male. Medical treatments included aspirin, clopidogrel, abciximab, enoxaparin, warfarin, and cervical collar. Stenting was tried in 2 cases but did not work long-term. Surgical treatments included decompression, cervical fusion, or a combination. We present a new case of a 12-year-old girl with recurrent stroke who had bilateral vascular compression only visible on provocative angiographic imaging with head turn. She was referred for cervical fusion, and abnormal ligamentous laxity was noted intraoperatively. Conclusions: Bow hunter's syndrome is a rare but important cause of stroke since many of the patients experience recurrent strokes before the diagnosis is made. Reasons for the male predominance are unclear. Provocative angiography plays a key role in diagnosis, and both medical treatment and neurosurgical intervention may prevent recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-772
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of child neurology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • Bow hunter's syndrome
  • bow hunter syndrome
  • cervical fusion
  • cervical spine
  • child
  • dynamic angiography
  • ligamentous laxity
  • pediatric stroke
  • posterior stroke
  • provocative angiography
  • recurrent stroke
  • rotational vertebral artery occlusion
  • stenting
  • vascular decompression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology

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