Vertebrobasilar circulatory disorders are conditions in which blood supply to the back of the brain is disrupted.
Three main blood vessels provide blood flow to the back of the brain:
This part of the brain contains structures that are crucial for keeping a person alive, such as breathing, heart rate, swallowing, vision, movement, and posture or balance.
Many different conditions may cause blood flow in the back part of the brain to be reduced or stopped. The most common are smoking, highblood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. These are similar to the risk factors for any stroke.
Vertebrobasilar vascular disorders may also be caused by a tear (dissection) in an artery wall.
Other less common causes of vertebrobasilar vascular disorders include connective tissue diseases and vasculitis.
Most common symptoms may include:
Other symptoms that may occur include:
Tests depend on the possible underlying cause, but may include:
Sudden onset of vertebrobasilar symptoms is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. Treatment is similar to that for stroke .
Treatment and prevention may include:
The outlook depends on:
Each person has a different recovery time and need forlong-term care. Problems with moving, thinking, and talking often improve in the first weeks or months after a stroke. Some people will keep improving months or years after a stroke.
Complications of vertebrobasilar circulatory disorders are stroke and its complications. The complications of stroke include:
Patients may have vision loss in one eye.
Complications caused by medications or surgery may also occur.
Call 911 or your local emergency number, or get to the emergency room if you have any symptoms that may suggest a vertebrobasilar circulatory disorder.
Vertebrobasilar insufficiency; Posterior circulation ischemia
Furie KL, Kasner SE, Adams RJ, et al. Guidelines for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2011;42:227-276.
Goldstein LB, Bushnell CD, Adams RJ, et al. Guidelines for the primary prevention of stroke: a guideline for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. 2011;42:517-584.
Adams RJ, Albers G, Alberts MJ, Benavente O, Furie K, Goldstein LB, et al. Update to the AHA/ASA recommendations for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke and transient ischemic attack. Stroke. 2008 May;39(5):1647-52. Epub 2008 Mar 5.
Biller J, Love BB, Schneck MJ. Vascular Diseases of the Nervous System. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:chap 55.
Updated by: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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