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Vertebral Artery Stenosis

The vertebral arteries are a set of paired arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the back part of the brain. Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries due to fatty substance deposition and plaque buildup, can lead to narrowing of the blood vessels. Patients may present with stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) symptoms such as a focal deficit of vision loss, dizziness, speech difficulty, or numbness or weakness of an arm or leg. Evaluation of the vertebral arteries can be performed with non-invasive imaging such as an MRI or CT scan. Patients with this condition can benefit from lifestyle changes and a medication regimen that will limit the progression of the narrowing. For patients who experience further narrowing and symptoms despite medications, some may benefit from an endovascular procedure to open the blocked artery.
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 06/14/2013