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What is the Anterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery?

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  • Written By: Scott Daniel
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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The anterior inferior cerebellar artery is a blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to part of the brain. Located at the base of the brain, the anterior inferior cerebellar artery supplies blood to the cerebellum, the region of the brain responsible for motor control and cognitive functions. The term "anterior" refers to front, while "inferior" means down, giving the general location of the artery in relationship to the cerebellum.

The artery supplies blood to the front bottom quarter of the cerebellum. The cerebellum itself is located at the base of the brain. The anterior inferior cerebellar artery can branch at different points, depending on the individual. In about 75 percent of people, it is located on the lower third of the basilar artery — a larger artery which branches out into several different, smaller arteries.

Blood is continually circulating through every living human being. The complex system of arteries and veins, called the cardiovascular system, carries blood throughout the body in order to allow each of the human body's biological systems to function correctly. As blood travels from the heart, it goes up the brainstem — the lower part of the brain which connects to the spinal cord — and through the basilar artery.

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Branching off of the basilar artery, the anterior inferior cerebellar artery then supplies the cerebellum with the oxygen necessary to function. Blockage or closure of this artery can result in lateral pontine syndrome, which can damage cells, nerves, nerve fibers, and more. This damage can ultimately have serious consequences including facial paralysis, vertigo, hearing loss, and other ailments.

As part of the circulatory system, head and neck arteries supply blood to the brain, face, and surrounding areas. As arteries carry blood away from the heart, veins carry blood toward the heart. Coming from the heart, most arteries carry oxygenated blood. As a whole, the cardiovascular system delivers nutrients and oxygen to cells and removes waste and carbon dioxide. The blood pressure in arteries is higher than in veins as the heart pumps blood throughout the body, which is why arteries provide a way to check an individual's pulse.

A compromised cardiovascular system can lead to death, and cardiovascular disease can result from a number of different causes. Treatment can vary from adopting healthier lifestyle habits to medication to surgery. Prevention, by eating right and exercising, is considered the best way to avoid cardiovascular problems, including those which affect the anterior inferior cerebellar artery.

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