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The proatlantal artery is one of the persistent carotid-vertebrobasilar anastomoses, and can be subdivided into two types depending on its origin:
- type I: (~55%)
- type II: (~40%)
Irrespective of their origin, the artery passes through the foramen magnum and joins the vertebral artery. If large then the ipsilateral vertebral artery is small or absent.
It can be easily confused for another persistent carotid-vertebrobasilar anastomosis, the persistent hypoglossal artery but a key differentiator is that proatlantal arteries courses through the foramen magnum whereas the persistent hypoglossal artery courses through the hypoglossal canal 2.
- 1. Purkayastha S, Gupta AK, Varma R, Kapilamoorthy TR. Proatlantal intersegmental arteries of external carotid artery origin associated with Galen's vein malformation. (2005) AJNR. American journal of neuroradiology. 26 (9): 2378-83. Pubmed
- 2. C. Cinar Basekim et al "Type I Proatlantal Artery with Bilateral Absence of the External Carotid Arteries" American Journal of Neuroradiology 25:1619-1621, October 2004