Posterior circulation ischaemic stroke—a review part I: anatomy, aetiology and clinical presentations

Marco Sparaco, Ludovico Ciolli, Andrea Zini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Posterior circulation ischaemia is a clinicopathological condition with complex symptomatology associated with an infarction within the vertebrobasilar arterial system. Posterior circulation strokes account for about 20–25% of all ischemic strokes and remain a significant cause of patient disability and mortality. Diagnosis can be challenging because presenting symptoms are often non-focal and because there is a substantial overlap in symptoms and signs of ischaemia in the anterior circulation. Despite better imaging techniques, diagnosis and treatment of life-threatening conditions, such as basilar artery occlusions, are often delayed. Therefore, early detection of symptoms and causes of posterior circulation ischaemia is essential for choosing the most appropriate therapy. In this review, we summarise the anatomy, aetiology, typical presentations and characteristic findings of common strokes resulting from disease in the vertebrobasilar arterial system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1995-2006
Number of pages12
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019


  • Basilar artery occlusion
  • Posterior cerebral ischaemia
  • Vertebrobasilar arterial system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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