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Basilar artery: Wikis


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Artery: Basilar artery
Circle of Willis en.svg
The basilar artery (middle of figure) arises from the vertebral arteries and terminates when it bifurcates in the left and right posterior cerebral arteries.
Arteries beneath brain Gray closer.jpg
The arteries of the base of the brain. Basilar artery labeled below center. The temporal pole of the cerebrum and a portion of the cerebellar hemisphere have been removed on the right side. Inferior aspect (viewed from below).
Latin arteria basilaris
Gray's subject #148 580
Supplies superior and inferior aspects of the cerebellum
Source vertebral arteries   
Branches anterior inferior cerebellar artery
pontine branches
MeSH Basilar+Artery

In human anatomy, the basilar artery is one of the arteries that supplies the brain with oxygen-rich blood.

The two vertebral arteries and the basilar artery are sometimes together called the vertebrobasilar system, which supplies blood to the posterior part of circle of Willis and anastomoses with blood supplied to the anterior part of the circle of Willis from the carotid arteries.



It arises from the confluence of the two vertebral arteries at the junction between the medulla oblongata and the pons.

It ascends in the central gutter (sulcus basilaris) inferior to the pons and divides into the posterior cerebral arteries and the superior cerebellar artery just inferior to the pituitary stalk.

From the basilar artery arises the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (supplying the superior and inferior aspects of the cerebellum), as well as smaller branches for the supply of the pons (the pontine branches).


Thrombosis of the basilar artery can be life-threatening, as it leads to hypoxia and ischemia of the brainstem.

Poor prognoses are common and these can include paralysis of all extremities, heavy disturbances in sensation, difficulty in swallowing and difficulty in respiration.

Basilar artery thrombosis is the most common cause of locked-in syndrome.[1]

Additional images

cr = Arteria cerebri rostralis, cm = Arteria cerebri media, ma = Arteria maxillaris, RZ = Retezuflüsse, ci = Arteria carotis interna, rm = Rete mirabile, ba = Arteria basilaris
The internal carotid & vertebral arteries (Right side view).


  1. ^ Young NP, Dyck PJ, Wijdicks EF (2007). "Locked-in syndrome due to invasive fungal rhinosinusitis in an immunosuppressed patient". The neurologist 13 (3): 158–60. doi:10.1097/01.nrl.0000263701.15487.97. PMID 17495762.  

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