What is posterior cerebral artery (PCA) stroke?

Updated: Jul 30, 2018
  • Author: Erek K Helseth, MD; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

Posterior cerebral artery (PCA) stroke is less common than stroke involving the anterior circulation. An understanding of PCA stroke phenomenology and mechanisms requires knowledge of neurovascular anatomy and of the structure-function relationships of this region of the brain. Identifying mechanisms of stroke is essential so that appropriate preventive therapies may be instituted. This article provides an overview of PCA stroke and focuses exclusively on stroke of arterial origin involving the PCA territory (see the images below). (See Anatomy, Pathophysiology, Etiology, Treatment, and Medication.)

Unenhanced head computed tomography (CT) scan demo Unenhanced head computed tomography (CT) scan demonstrating a subacute L posterior cerebral artery (PCA) infarct.
Computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain showing Computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain showing hypodense areas in the right occipital lobe consistent with a recent posterior cerebral artery (PCA) ischemic infarct.

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