Posterior communicating artery

In the brain, oxygenated blood travels through an extensive and central cerebral arterial circle. This network is also called the circle of Willis. The posterior communicating artery makes up a large part of the circle's lower half. The circle is symmetrical, so there are two posterior communicating arteries, each has a left or right designation. Both are conduits between larger blood vessels, connecting the middle cerebral artery with the posterior cerebral artery. Eventually, this joins into the basilar, which splits into two vertebral arteries. Since the cerebral arterial circle is so central in the brain, arterial problems may have drastic consequences. The posterior communicating artery is often the site of aneurysms. Most aneurysms occur in the anterior communicating artery, but in terms of frequency, the posterior comes in second. This may lead to palsy of the oculomotor nerve. The artery develops late during fetal gestation as embryonic vessels begin to fuse together. However, this does not lead to any frequently occurring congenital defects.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Posterior communicating artery

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