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J Clin Neurol. 2012 Dec;8(4):259-64. doi: 10.3988/jcn.2012.8.4.259. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

A Quantitative Comparison of the Vertebral Artery and Transverse Foramen Using CT Angiography.

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Department of Neurology, Hallym University Sacred Heart Hospital, Chuncheon, Korea.



The vertebral artery (VA) is important for the development of the transverse foramen (TF). Most studies of these structures have focused on anatomical anomalies. Therefore, we investigated quantitatively the association between the relative sizes of the TF and VA.


We recruited a consecutive series of subjects who underwent CT angiography to estimate the relative sizes of the VA and TF in axial source images. Two neurologists independently reviewed the axial CT images of 208 patients who had no history of transient ischemic attack or stroke. Averaged areas of the VA and TF were defined by the sum of the areas at each level from C3 to C6, divided by 4. Correlation analyses were adjusted for age, sex, and vascular risk factors.


The mean age of the subjects was 53 years. The interobserver and intraobserver reliabilities of TF size were good. There was a linear relationship between the sizes of the VA and TF on each side (right side: r(2)=0.58, p<0.001; left side: r(2)=0.62, p<0.001). The area of the VA was significantly associated with that of the TF after adjusting for vascular risk factors.


The size of the VA is strongly and linearly correlated with the size of the TF. These findings suggest that measurement of the TF and VA with CT angiography is a reliable method for evaluating VA diseases, and may provide new insight into the differentiation between VA hypoplasia and atherosclerosis of the VA.


CT angiography; hypoplasia; transverse foramen; vertebral artery

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