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Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency

more about Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency


  • Vertebrobasilar insufficiency is a condition due to insufficient blood supply to certain parts of the brain, leading to various temporary and permanent symptoms. Treatment is generally with medicines.

  • Symptoms can be quite varied, including vertigo or dizziness, difficulty walking properly, double or Blurred Vision, difficulty talking or controlling the movements of the mouth, numbness around the mouth, and weakness or numbness on one or both sides of the body.
  • The symptoms may be temporary (called Transient Ischemic Attacks) or permanent (called Strokes).
  • Some patients have "drop attacks," experiencing weakness of both legs and collapse without losing consciousness.
  • At times, these symptoms may worsen with a changes in posture, when extending or bending the neck, or when moving or lifting the arms.

  • The cause of the disease is a blockage in the circulation that supplies blood to the brain.
  • Factors contributing to the risk of developing vertebrobasilar insufficiency include diabetes, High Blood Pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, heart irregularities or heart disease, circulation problems in other parts of the body, drug use, old age, severe anemia, very Low Blood Pressure, or diseases that cause inflammation of the wall of the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain.

  • A CT scan is usually the first step in determining Stroke or bleeding within the brain.
  • Diagnosis can be made by angiogram (dye injected into the blood vessels) or MRA (magnetic resonance Angiography), which explores the circulation for blockages.
  • Other tests that should be done include testing for High Blood Pressure, for severe anemia, for diabetes, and for high cholesterol. Also, an EKG and Echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart) are done to look for heart problems.

  • Treatment is usually with medicines. Usually, people are first started on a full aspirin a day.
  • If this does not work and the person has another Stroke, then they are treated with either Ticlid or Plavix.
  • If the person is already on one of these medicines and has more symptoms, then they are placed on coumadin.
  • Since all of these drugs are blood thinners, they increase the chances of bleeding. The best treatment should be discussed with the doctor.
  • Also, the other things (such as diabetes, tobacco use, high cholesterol, etc.) need to be treated.
  • If the person has a blood clot in the heart or an Irregular Heartbeat, the doctor may decide to start coumadin immediately.
  • Surgery is usually not an option. However, sometimes a blockage is found that can be corrected with surgery. Talk to the doctor and surgeon. They can help decide if this is an option.
  • If the person suffers permanent damage to the brain, physical and occupational therapy may be needed.

  • Prevention can be attempted by lowering risk factors such as High Blood Pressure and high cholesterol, by not using recreational drugs, and by stopping tobacco use.
  • By doing these things, you can decrease, but not completely eliminate, the chances of having this problem.





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