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Module 3 - The Blood Supply of the Brain


  • Describe or sketch the course of the major arteries and their branches that comprise the carotid and vertebral-basilar systems.
  • Name the vessels or branches that primarily supply the following major regions:
    • Lateral parts of the hemisphere including its deep white matter, internal capsule, and basal ganglia
    • Medial parts of the hemisphere
    • Posterior and inferior parts of the hemisphere
    • Thalamus
    • Medial brainstem
    • Lateral brainstem and cerebellum
  • Name the major arteries (and branches) that supply: primary motor cortex for face, arm, leg and corticobulbar and corticospinal fibers in deep white matter of the hemisphere, and throughout the rest of their course.
  • Name the major arteries that supply the different components of the visual system and language system.
  • List four important regions where collateral circulation may provide alternate routes for blood flow to the brain.

Clinical Applications and Reasoning

  • Explain why collateral circulation often does not protect against brain ischemia when a major vessel is abruptly occluded by an embolus.
  • Explain how a slowly-developing occlusion of the internal carotid in the neck might be totally asymptomatic.
  • Explain two different ways that a carotid branch occlusion can produce leg weakness.
  • Name three structures where both hypertensive intracerebral hemorrhages and lacunar infarcts often occur, and relate this to at least one feature shared by their blood supplies.