What is the posterior cerebral arterial distribution in the anatomy of ischemic stroke?

Updated: May 27, 2020
  • Author: Edward C Jauch, MD, MS, FAHA, FACEP; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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The posterior cerebral arteries arise from the basilar artery and carry the posterior circulation. The posterior cerebral artery (PCA) gives rise to perforating branches that supply the thalami and brainstem and the cortical branches to the posterior and medial temporal lobes and occipital lobes. (See Table 1, below.)

Table 1. Vascular Supply to the Brain (Open Table in a new window)


Structures Supplied

Anterior Circulation (Carotid)

Anterior Cerebral Artery

Cortical branches: medial frontal and parietal lobe

Medial lenticulostriate branches: caudate head, globus pallidus, anterior limb of internal capsule

Middle Cerebral Artery

Cortical branches: lateral frontal and parietal lobes, lateral and anterior temporal lobe

Lateral lenticulostriate branches: globus pallidus and putamen, internal capsule

Anterior Choroidal Artery

Optic tracts, medial temporal lobe, ventrolateral thalamus, corona radiata, posterior limb of the internal capsule

Posterior Circulation (Vertebrobasilar)

Posterior Cerebral Artery

Cortical branches: occipital lobes, medial and posterior temporal and parietal lobes

Perforating branches: brainstem, posterior thalamus and midbrain

Posterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery

Inferior vermis; posterior and inferior cerebellar hemispheres

Anterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery

Anterolateral cerebellum

Superior Cerebellar Artery

Superior vermis; superior cerebellum

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