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What is the Vertebral Artery Test?

What is the Vertebral Artery Test

Generally, Vertebral Artery Test (VAT) is the specific examination destined to check out vertebral artery blood flow and whether it gets to the brain. The necessity of a vertebral artery test is hard to overestimate, as it helps to prevent you from multiple disturbing symptoms. And what’s more important it lowers the risk of getting a stroke or ischaemic attack.

The vertebral artery is one of the biggest neck arteries responsible for delivering blood to our brain. The proper functioning of this artery is directly responsible for your heart and brain health.

You see, if there’s some obstruction of the blood flow in the brain, you are at big risk of getting an ischemic attack and stroke. The statistics are cruel there. Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes. And even if the stroke hadn’t led to any fatal consequences, there’s a big chance of getting some unpleasant results. Most people struggle with local pains, uncontrollable heartbeat, or constant nausea.                                                              

To avoid ischemic attack or stroke, it is important to do specific examinations regularly. Especially if you feel any pain in your body. Therefore, VAT is a necessary procedure to pass. But how does this test work? And how does it affect your body? Let’s speculate a bit on that!

Structure of Vertebral Artery and the Reasons for the Test                                                                              

To understand what a vertebral artery examination is, it is important to know what exactly the vertebral artery is.


The cervical spine, compared with other spines, has several essential peculiarities. 

  1. Most of the extracranial part (arteries between the heart and the head). It is accompanied by its vegetative plexus and vertebral veins passing in a flexible narrow bone canal formed by holes in the cross outgrowths of cervical vertebrae.
  2. In this canal, the neurovascular bundle is closely adjacent to the vertebral bodies.
  3. The passage of the vertebral artery and its surrounding plexus through the holes in the transverse outgrowths of the six upper cervical vertebrae creates conditions for compression and irritation neurovascular formation.

The compression is usually caused by cervical osteochondrosis. This is usually the reason for vertebral artery syndrome occurrence. 

The right VA is the first branch of the right starting artery that originates from the shoulder-head trunk, while the left is the first branch of the left subclavian artery, starting directly from the arch of the carotid artery

Usually, the reasons for the syndrome vertebral artery can be divided into two groups:

  • Vascular. Intravasal (atherosclerotic lesions, inflammatory changes of various etiologies); deformation of the arteries due to developmental abnormalities, congenital tortuosity).
  • Non-vascular. Extravasal compression due to pathology from the side spine. If an artery spasm occurs as a result of direct mechanical compression of the vertebral artery and its nerve plexus.

Vertebral Artery Test

How to Perform the Vertebral Artery Test?                                                                 

Usually, there are several variations of vertebral artery test, depending on the position of the patient. The doctor may ask you to stand still, lay down on the couch or just sit there. But the main principle is to examine the state of the cervical spine during head movements to both sides. 

  • To perform the VAT test first of all the physician has to put  2 MHz sensors for transcranial Doppler ultrasound, fixed on the head of the patient with a special helmet, and are adjusted to the location segments of the posterior cerebral arteries. In the Doppler ultrasound, the function of two-channel monitoring is selected (preferred) or a conventional two-channel study.
  • The patient has to be in a free sitting position with open eyes. Within 1–2 min, the blood flow initial speed is recorded in the posterior cerebral arteries. Next, the patient is asked to turn his head as much as possible to the left, throw it back from this position and hold it in this position for 15–20 seconds.
  • So, the patient has to take a Romberg pose — stand still, feet together, arms outstretched and eyes are closed.
  • Then the patient has to turn the head to the left as much as possible and throw it back from this position. Then the person has to repeat the same actions to the right.
  • After that, you should throw your head back as much as possible and bring your chin to your chest as much as possible. 

When performing each part of this test evaluate the subjective symptoms (headache, dizziness, nausea, strabismus, etc.) and objective (the appearance of nystagmus, ataxia, oculomotor disorders, etc).                  

Vertebral artery syndrome is the reason for various unpleasant symptoms, like headaches of a vascular nature, changes in blood pressure, and visual impairments. But the worst consequences of it are transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and a critical sign of impending stroke. Specialists of Lone Star Neurology have vast experience in dealing with a lot of neurological diseases. You can contact us through Instagram or Facebook. Or you may call us at this number 214-619-1910. We are available from Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. On Saturdays, we are open only for MRI.  


  • What is the vertebral artery test for?

The vertebral artery test is destined to show whether a person has vertebral artery insufficiency. Generally, this is the best option to examine the quality of blood flow in the vertebral artery to the brain.

  • How do you test the right vertebral artery?

There are several variations of the test. But usually, a person is asked to lay down and turn their head from side to side with a slight pause between them.

  • What are the symptoms of a blocked vertebral artery?

The usual symptoms of blood flow obstruction in the vertebral artery are: vertigo, diplopia, perioral numbness, vision impairments, dizziness, ataxia, bilateral sensory deficits, and syncope

  • When and why should you use the vertebral artery test?

A vertebral artery test is usually performed when the person struggles with the symptoms mentioned above. Also, if you struggle with cervical osteochondrosis, which usually is the reason for compression of the artery.

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Lone Star Neurology
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Edward Medina
Edward Medina
15:34 30 Jun 22
Just such an amazing staff that makes you feel like part of their family. I’ve been going there for over 5 years now... and each visit I get the very best care and treatments that I have ever received in the 20+ years that I’ve been dealing with severe debilitating migraines. Since i started seeing them the number of my migraines has dropped from 15-20 a month to 2-3 every 3 month. I highly recommend them …they will change your life!read more
Daneisha Johnson
Daneisha Johnson
22:20 19 May 22
Dr. Askari was very kind and explained everything so I could understand. The other staff were nice as well. I would... have gave 5 stars but I was a little taken aback when I checked in and had to pay 600.00 upfront. I think that should have been discussed in a appointment confirmation call or email just so I could have been more
Jean Cooper
Jean Cooper
16:54 29 Apr 22
I love the office staff they are friendly and very helpful. Dr. JODIE is very caring and understanding to your needs... and wants to help you. I will go back. would recommend Dr. Dr. Jodie to other Patients in a heart beat. The team works well more
Linda M
Linda M
19:40 02 Apr 22
I was obviously stressed, needing to see a neurologist. The staff was so patient and Dr. Ansari was so kind. At one... point he told me to relax, we have time, when I was relaying my history of my condition. That helped ease my stress. I have seen 3 other neurologists and he was the only one who performed any assessment tests on my cognitive and physical skills. At one point I couldn't complete two assessments and got upset and cried. I was told, it's OK. That's why you're here. I was truly impressed, and super pleased with the whole experience!read more
Leslie Durham
Leslie Durham
15:05 01 Apr 22
I've been coming here for about 5 years. The staff are ALWAYS friendly and knowledgeable. The Doctors are the absolute... best!! Jodie Moore is always in such a great mood which is a plus when you are already stressed. Highly recommendedread more
Monica Del Bosque
Monica Del Bosque
14:13 25 Mar 22
Since my first post my thoughts have changed here. It's unfortunate. My doctor and PA were great, but the office staff... is horrible. They never call you back when they say they will, they misinform you, they cause you too much stress wondering what's going on, they don't keep you posted. They never answer the phone. At this point I've left four messages in the last week, and I have sent three messages. Twice from their portal and one direct email. No response. My appointment is on Monday morning at 8:30am, no confirmation on my insurance and what's going on. What the heck is going on, this is ridiculous!I've given up... the stress her office staff has put me through is just not worth it. You can do so much better, please clean house, either change out your office staff, or find a way for them to be more efficient please. You have to do something. This is not how you want to run your practice. It leaves a very bad impression on your more
Ron Buckholz
Ron Buckholz
23:32 23 Mar 22
I was actually pleasantly surprised with this visit! It took me a long time to get the appointment scheduled because no... one answers your phones EVER! After a month, I finally got in, and your staff was warm, friendly, and I was totally impressed! I feel like you will take care of my needs!read more
Steve Nabavi
Steve Nabavi
16:28 16 Mar 22
It was a nice visit. Happy staff doing all they can do to comfort the patients in a very calming environment. You ask... me they are earned a big gold star on the fridge. My only complaint they didn't give me any more
Katie Lewis
Katie Lewis
16:10 10 Feb 22
Had very positive appointments with Jodie and Dr. Sheth for my migraine care. Jodie was so fast with the injections and... has so much valuable info. I started to feel light headed during checkout and the staff was SO helpful—giving me a chair, water, and taking me into a private room until I felt better. Highly recommend this practice for migraine patients, they know what they’re doing!!read more
Joshua Martinez
Joshua Martinez
16:02 10 Dec 21
I was scheduled to be checked and just want to say that the staff was fantastic. They were kind and helpful. I was... asked many questions related to what was going on and not once did I feel as though I was being brushed off. The front desk staff was especially great in assisting me. I'm scheduled to go back for a mri and am glad that I'll be going more
Isabel Ivy
Isabel Ivy
21:42 03 Nov 21
I had such a good experience with Lone Star Neurology, Brent my MRI Tech was so awesome and made sure I was very... comfortable during the appointment. He gave me ear plugs, a pillow, leg support and blanket, easiest MRI ever lol 🤣 My 72 hour EEG nurse Amanda was also so awesome. She made sure I was take care of over the 3 days and took her time with the electrodes to make sure it was comfortable for me! Paige was also a huge help in answering all my questions when it came to my test results, and letting me know her honest opinions about how I should go forth with my more
Leslie Luce
Leslie Luce
17:37 20 Oct 21
The professionalism and want to help attitude of this office was present from the moment I contacted them. The follow... up and follow through as well as their willingness to find a way to schedule my dad was above and beyond. We visited two offices in the same day with the same experience. I am appreciative of this—we spend a lot of time with doctors and this was top notch start to more
robert Parker
robert Parker
16:38 16 Apr 21
I love going to this office. The staff is friendly and helpful. The doctor is great. I am getting the best... neurological tests and treatment I have ever had. The only reason I did not give them a 5 star rating is because it is impossible to reach a live person at the office to reschedule appointments. Every time I have tried to get through to the office it says all people are busy and I am sent to a voicemail. If they could get their phone answering fixed, I would give them a strong 5 more
MaryAnn Hornbaker
MaryAnn Hornbaker
00:26 25 Feb 21
Dr. Harney is an excellent Dr. I found him friendly , personable and thorough. I evidently am an unusual case. ... Therefore he spent a Hugh amount of time educating me. He even gave me literature to further explain my condition and how to follow up. This is something you rarely get from your doctors. So I am more than please with my doctor and his more
Roger Arguello
Roger Arguello
03:05 29 Jan 21
Always courteous, professional. The staff is very friendly and always work with you to find the best appointment time.... The care team has been great. Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and to find the best more
Margaret Rowland
Margaret Rowland
01:12 27 Jan 21
I have been a patient at Lone Star Neurology for several years. Now both my adult daughters also are patients there. I... love Jodie. She is always so prompt whether it is a teleamed call are a visit in the office. She takes the time to explain everything to me and answers all my questions. I am so blessed to have Jodie as my more
Susan Miller
Susan Miller
03:01 13 Jan 21
My husband had an accident 5 years ago and Lone Star Neurology has been such a blessing to us with my husbands care.... Jodie Moore is his provider and she is amazing! Jodie is very knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. She takes her time with you, making sure your needs are met and she is happy to answer any questions you may have. Lone Star Neurology’s patients are very lucky to have Jodie providing their care. Thank you Lone Star Neurology and especially Jodie for everything you have done for us. Jodie, you are the best!read more
Windalyn C
Windalyn C
01:32 09 Jan 21
Jodie is wonderful. She is very caring and knowledgeable. I have been to over a dozen neurologists, and none were able... to help me as much as they have here. Thanks!read more
Katie Kordel
Katie Kordel
00:40 09 Jan 21
Jodi Moore, nurse practitioner, is amazing. I have suffered from frequent, debilitating headaches for almost 20 years.... She has provided the best proactive and responsive care I have ever received. My quality of life has been greatly improved by her caring approach and tenacity in finding more
Ellie Natsis
Ellie Natsis
15:41 07 Jan 21
I have had the best experience at this neurologist's office! For over a year I have been receiving iv treatments here... each month and my nurse, Bobbie is beyond wonderful!! She's so attentive, knowledgeable, caring, and detail oriented. She makes an otherwise uncomfortable experience much more pleasant and definitely puts me at ease! She also helps me with my insurance,ordering this specialty medication and dealing with the ordering process which is no easy feat.Needless to say, she goes above a beyond in every way and I'm so grateful to this office and to Bobbie for all they do for me!read more
Matt Morris
Matt Morris
15:39 07 Jan 21
Let me start by saying that I have been coming here for years. Due to my autoimmune disease, I am in this office... once every three weeks for multiple hours at a time. The office is very clean and the staff very friendly. My only complaint would be there communication via phone. They aren't the best at responding if you leave a voicemail and expect a call back. I understand that this is prob just due to the sheer number of alls they receive daily. What I can say I like the best about the office are the people. Bobby who handles my infusions is great. I never have any issues with her setting up my infusions. She is very quick to reply to messages sent via text and if she were to leave then my whole opinion of the office may change. I also enjoy people like Matt, Lauren, and Jodi. I appreciate all that they do for me and without this team I'm not sure I would be as happy as I am to visit the office as frequently as I have to. Please ensure that these folks are recognized as they are what makes my visit to this office so tolerable :).read more
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