Vertebral artery hypoplasia as an independent risk factor of posterior circulation atherosclerosis and ischemic stroke

DİNÇ Y., ÖZPAR R., Emir B., HAKYEMEZ B., Bakar M.

MEDICINE, vol.100, no.38, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 100 Issue: 38
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1097/md.0000000000027280
  • Journal Name: MEDICINE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: acute ischemic stroke, cerebroservical athereosclerotic stenosis, vertebral artery hypoplasia, MECHANISMS, CIRCLE
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Vertebral artery hypoplasia (VAH) is a frequent anatomical variation of vertebral arteries, with emerging evidence suggesting that it contributes to posterior circulation ischemia. However, the relationship between VAH and ischemic stroke remains unknown. Hence, this study aimed to determine the prevalence of VAH in patients diagnosed with acute ischemic stroke who were followed up in a neurology clinic and to determine if it can potentially be a risk factor for atherosclerotic stenosis in vertebrobasilar circulation. This retrospective study included 609 patients diagnosed with acute ischemic stroke between January 1, 2019 and January 1, 2020. Demographic of patients, risk factors, radiological and clinical characteristics were evaluated. Posterior circulation was very common in patients with VAH, and the most common locations of atherosclerotic stenosis were V1 and V4 segments of the vertebral artery and the middle segment of basilar artery. Analysis of the risk factors for atherosclerotic stenosis in patients with posterior circulation acute ischemic stroke suggested that VAH was an independent risk factor. Findings of the study suggest that VAH pre-disposes atherosclerotic stenosis in vertebrobasilar circulation, although its mechanism remains unknown. Hemodynamic parameters associated with atherosclerosis could not be measured in vivo. Thus, to better understand the underlying mechanism, conducting studies that examine blood flow parameters with high-resolution magnetic resonance angiography in patients diagnosed with acute cerebral ischemia patients with VAH is warranted.