Proatlantal artery

Last revised by Rohan Smith on 30 Oct 2021

The proatlantal artery is one of the persistent carotid-vertebrobasilar anastomoses, and can be subdivided into two types depending on its origin:

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.

Differential diagnosis

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.

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: type II
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  • Case 2: left type II
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