Vertebral artery

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Arteries supplying the brain: arteria vertebralis (back) and arteria carotis communis (front)

The vertebral artery ("vertebral artery") is a branch of the clavicle artery ( subclavian artery ). It arises from the subclavian artery at the level of the first thoracic vertebra and then runs to the 6th cervical vertebra . From there it pulls through a hole in the lateral process of the cervical vertebra ( foramen transversarium ) towards the skull. The chain of the foramina transversaria is also known as the transverse process canal . There the artery is accompanied by the vertebral nerve .

At each cervical vertebra, the vertebral artery sends branches to the surrounding muscles and into the spinal canal to supply the cervical section of the spinal cord . On the atlas, it moves through its foramen transversarium into the atlas wing pit ( fossa atlantis ) and from there over the wing hole ( foramen alare , in predators, incisura alaris ) to the lateral vertebral hole ( foramen vertebrale laterale ) of this vertebra. The terminal branches on both sides unite ventrally to the medulla oblongata to form an unpaired vessel, the basilar artery . This is a tributary to the Circulus arteriosus cerebriand thus one of the vessels that supply blood to the brain . Before merging to form the basilar artery , it gives off a branch that supplies parts of the cerebellum and the brain stem , the posterior cerebellar artery (PICA). The anterior spinal artery ( arteria spinalis anterior ) also arises at its cranial end from the vertebral arteries, but the inflow conditions here are very inconsistent and are subject to large individual fluctuations.

In ruminants , the vertebral artery ends at the level of the axis , so there is no foramen transversarium on the atlas.

Web links

Commons : Vertebral artery  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. FCAT - Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology: Terminologia Anatomica. Thieme, Stuttgart et al. 1998, ISBN 3-13-114361-4 .


  • Uwe Gille: Cardiovascular and immune system, Angiologia. In: Franz-Viktor Salomon, Hans Geyer, Uwe Gille (Ed.): Anatomy for veterinary medicine. 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Enke, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8304-1075-1 , pp. 404-463.