[Occlusion of the basilar artery. A review with 17 personal cases (author's transl)]

Rev Neurol (Paris). 1981;137(10):545-71.
[Article in French]


Occlusion of the basilar artery is mainly of atherosclerotic origin; embolic occlusion, dissecting aneurysm, trauma and arteritis are less frequent. Pathologic and angiographic findings allow to classify basilar artery occlusions in three types: segmental (superior, medial or inferior), plurisegmental and extensive. The infarcted areas involve brain stem, especially pons and cerebellum, also diencephalon and cerebral hemispheres, in various combinations. Clinically, there is typically a prodromic stage, with transient ischemic attacks (vertigo, headaches, visual disturbances, motor deficit). Few weeks later, a decreased level of consciousness and motor anomalies are the most important signs. A fatal outcome is noted in 85,98 p. 100. Among laboratory examinations, only angiography proves the occlusion: it also shows the arterial supply (carotido-basilar reflux; inter-cerebellar anastomosis). Computed tomography usually eliminates an expanding mass of the posterior fossa. Management is only of general type. Surgical management of carotid arteries stenosis may ameliorate the anastomotic flow.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / complications
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / etiology
  • Arterial Occlusive Diseases / therapy
  • Basilar Artery* / diagnostic imaging
  • Basilar Artery* / pathology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / etiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Prospective Studies
  • Radiography