What is it?

Occlusion and stenosis of precerebral arteries include the basilar artery, carotid artery and vertebral artery. Those are the arteries that supply blood to the circle of willis, which is the joining area of several arteries in the brain. When one of these arteries becomes occluded, the blood supply to a certain area of the brain is reduced, this may lead to a stroke. When the stenosis is temporary, and symptoms go away within the first 24 hours, it is called transient ischemic attack (TIA). The narrowing is caused by a buildup and hardening of fatty deposits called plaque. This process is known as atherosclerosis. The internal carotid artery supplies the front area of the brain, the vertebral and basilar arteries supply blood to the back areas. Risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, heart diseases, family history, moyamoya disease, arterial dissection, Fibromuscular dysplasia and Takayatsu’s arteritis.

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Occlusion & Stenosis of Precerebral Arteries.

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Vertebral Artery Occlusion Without Cerebral Infarction
- Basilar Artery Occlusion with Cerebral Infarction
- Basilar artery embolism with stroke
- Vertebral Artery Occlusion
- Basilar Artery Occlusion Without Cerebral Infarction
- Basilar artery embolism
- Basilar artery stenosis
- Basilar artery thrombosis
- Basilar Artery Occlusion
- Vertebral Artery Occlusion with Cerebral Infarction

Signs & symptoms

Occlusion and stenosis of precerebral arteries symptoms may include sudden numbness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body, sudden confusion, trouble speaking, trouble seeing in one or both eyes, trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or sudden headache.


Diagnosis starts with physical examination and medical history. Then, an imaging test of the brain has to be performed, firstly to rule out cerebral bleeding. Other diagnostic tests look exclusively at the blood vessels and blood flow within the body, such as the transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound or an angiogram.


Treatment of occlusion and stenosis of precerebral arteries varies if the patient had a TIA or a stroke. If the patient arrives fast enough, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is given to break the clot apart. Surgical methods to remove the plaque exist as well. Treatment for secondary prevention is given to all by ACE inhibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blocker).

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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