Vertebral artery hypoplasia

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 01 Feb 2021

Vertebral artery hypoplasia is a congenital anatomical variation characterized by underdevelopment of the vertebral artery.

The prevalence of hypoplastic vertebral arteries is reported to be 2-6% from autopsy and angiograms 1.

These are an asymptomatic anatomical variation in healthy people and there are no signs of vertebrobasilar insufficiency, even among patients with pronounced asymmetry 2.

There is no clear consensus on the definition of the hypoplastic vertebral artery, but is defined by some authors as 2:

  • vertebral artery luminal diameter <22 mm
  • vertebral artery volume flow <30-40 mL/min on color duplex ultrasonography

Individuals with hypoplastic vertebral artery are more likely to develop inferior cerebellar artery or lateral medullary infarction.

Healthy subjects presenting this condition demonstrated abnormal vestibular evoked myogenic potential 3.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1
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  • Case 2
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  • Case 3
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