Vertebral Artery

The vertebral artery ascends posterior to the carotid artery in the transverse foramina of the cervical vertebrae and it is divided into four anatomical segments.

A linear transducer frequency of 7-10 MHz is used, while a convex transducer frequency of 2-3 MHz can be employed when it is necessary a deeper and wider field of view as in the case of a short and thick neck and for the imaging of the origin and of the proximal segment of the artery.

After a longitudinal scan of the carotid artery we rotate the probe laterally, so we see the acoustic shadow caused by the transverse processes through which the vertebral artery appears.

The vertebral artery can/should be examined throughout the course but, for anatomical characteristics, cannot be studied with the same accuracy of the carotid artery.

Transverse scan is useful to study the V0-V1-V3 segments.

Usually, the vertebral artery is characterized by a Doppler spectrum with a high diastolic velocity ("low resistance" flow) and the peak systolic velocity varies from 20 to 40 cm/sec.

In this lesson the methodology of the echocolor Doppler study of the extracranial vertebral artery is presented.


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