The clinical presentation of basilar artery occlusion (BAO) ranges from mild transient symptoms to devastating strokes with high fatality and morbidity. Often, non-specific prodromal symptoms such as vertigo or headaches are indicative of BAO, and are followed by the hallmarks of BAO, including decreased consciousness, quadriparesis, pupillary and oculomotor abnormalities, dysarthria, and dysphagia. When clinical findings suggest an acute brainstem disorder, BAO has to be confirmed or ruled out as a matter of urgency. If BAO is recognised early and confirmed with multimodal CT or MRI, intravenous thrombolysis or endovascular treatment can be undertaken. The goal of thrombolysis is to restore blood flow in the occluded artery and salvage brain tissue; however, the best treatment approach to improve clinical outcome still needs to be ascertained.
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