We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Posterior Cerebral Artery?

By S. Anderson
Updated Jan 31, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The circulatory system is responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Part of the complex cerebral blood supply includes the left and right posterior cerebral arteries. These two arteries supply oxygenated blood to the lower back of the brain, in the occipital portion of the skull.

Blood is supplied to the head and brain by four large arteries, the two carotid arteries and the two vertebral arteries. The right and left vertebral arteries join together to form the basilar artery. This artery in turn separates into the two posterior cerebral arteries near the brain stem, at the upper border of the pons.

The carotid artery separates in the neck into the external and internal carotid arteries. The internal carotids join to the posterior cerebral arteries through the posterior communicating artery. This communication forms part of the arterial structure known as the Circle of Willis. The Circle of Willis allows the circulation between different parts of the brain to be equalized.

The posterior cerebral artery supplies blood to the center of the occipital lobes, the inferior sections of the temporal lobes, the brain stem and the cerebellum. This area contains the calcarine cortex, also known as the primary visual cortex. The short branches of the posterior cerebral artery supply blood to the hippocampus, the thalamus, part of the optic pathways and the midbrain.

Strokes affecting the posterior cerebral artery can affect the occipital cortex and cause alexia, which is an inability to read. Alternately, these strokes might affect visual learning, visual recognition or visual spatial orientation. Strokes involving the posterior cerebral artery might also affect the cerebellum or brain stem, causing slow or slurred speech. This is called dysarthria, and is the result of damage to nerves affecting the muscles that control the tongue and jaw. Most strokes tend to be unilateral, affecting only half of the brain.

Anton's syndrome, however, results from a stroke involving the vertebral artery that affects both hemispheres. The Anton’s syndrome patient experiences cortical blindness, of which they are honestly unaware and might vigorously deny. Patients cannot identify simple objects and might even be unable to tell if room lights are on or off. The pupils of the eye, however, still respond appropriately to light.

The brain of an Anton's syndrome patient will "lie" about what the patient is seeing. The patient is unaware of this falsehood and blames visual mistakes on other problems, such as not having his or her glasses. This unusual reaction could be because the damaged visual cortex is separated from other parts of the brain, including the speech and language sections. This reaction does not persist, and over time, the patient does become aware of his or her cortical blindness.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.