Posterior Circulation


Posterior Circulation, Basilar Artery, Vertebral Artery, Basilar Apex, Vertebrobasilar Artery, Vertebrobasilar Junction, Anterior Spinal Artery, Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery, Anterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery, Superior Cerebellar Artery, Posterior Cerebral Artery, Posterior Communicating Artery

  • Anatomy
  1. Posterior Circulation
  2. Main Source: Two Vertebral Artery
    1. Vertebral arteries combine to form Basilar Artery
    2. Basilar Artery divides to form posterior cerebral arteries
  3. Function
    1. Supplies Occipital Lobe, inferior Temporal Lobe, Brain Stem and Cerebellum
  1. Vertebrobasilar obstruction may result in Vision Loss, Vertigo or Brain Stem effects
    1. See Vertebrobasilar CVA
    2. See Posterior Cerebral Artery CVA
    3. See Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery CVA
  2. Basilar Artery obstruction near the Vertebral Artery junction
    1. Results in complete cortical blindness (bilateral Occipital Lobe infarcts)
  3. Basilar Artery obstruction in pons (Locked-In Syndrome)
    1. Complete motor paralysis except preserved diaphragmatic breathing and vertical eye movements
    2. Neurologic function otherwise intact (Awake, alert and lucid with intact cognitive function, and intact Sensation)
  4. Cerebellar artery obstruction
    1. Affects Cerebellum and Brain Stem
  5. Vertebral Artery obstruction
    1. May lack physical findings due to collateral circulation
  • References
  1. Gilman (1989) Manter and Gatz Essentials of Neuroanatomy and Neurophysiology, Davis, p. 216-21
  2. Goldberg (2014) Clinical Neuroanatomy, Medmaster, p. 6-15
  3. Netter (1997) Atlas Human Anatomy, ICON Learning, p. 130-9