vertebral artery

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ver·te·bral ar·ter·y

[TA]
the first branch of the subclavian artery; for descriptive purposes, divided into four parts, designated V1 to V4: 1) prevertebral part, the portion before it enters the foramen of the transverse process of the sixth cervical vertebra; 2) cervical part, the portion in the transverse foramina of the first six cervical vertebrae; 3) atlantic (suboccipital) part, the portion running along the posterior arch of the atlas; and 4) intracranial part, the portion within the cranial cavity to its union with the artery from the other side to form the basilar artery.
Synonym(s): arteria vertebralis [TA]

vertebral artery

one of a pair of arteries branching from the subclavian arteries, arising deep in the neck from the cranial and dorsal subclavian surfaces. Each vertebral artery divides into two cervical and five cranial branches, supplying deep neck muscles, the spinal cord and spinal membranes, and the cerebellum.

ver·te·bral ar·te·ry

(vĕr'tĕ-brăl ahr'tĕr-ē) [TA]
The first branch of the subclavian artery; for descriptive purposes, divided into four parts: 1) prevertebral part, the portion before it enters the foramen of the transverse process of the sixth cervical vertebra; 2) transversarial part, the portion in the transverse foramina of the first six cervical vertebrae; 3) suboccipital (atlantic) part, the portion running along the posterior arch of the atlas; and 4) intracranial part, the portion within the cranial cavity to its union with the artery from the other side to form the basilar artery.
Synonym(s): arteria vertebralis [TA] .

vertebral artery

Abbreviation: VA
The first branch of the subclavian artery; it runs up the back of the neck via foramina in the transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae and enters the cranial cavity through the foramen magnum. The right and left vertebral arteries merge along the ventral surface of the hindbrain to become the basilar artery. Branches of the vertebral artery include the anterior and posterior spinal arteries and the posterior inferior cerebellar artery.

The vertebral arteries carry about 20% of the brain's blood supply, feeding the brainstem, cerebellum, and most of the posterior cerebral hemispheres. Blockages of the vertebral circulation, e.g., an ischemic stroke, can produce problems in vegetative functions, such as consciousness and respiration, and problems of balance, hearing, motor coordination, and visual perception.

See: head (Arteries and veins of the head) and brain (Major arteries of the brain) for illus.; circle of Willis for illus.
See also: artery
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