Much of the brain is supplied blood by the internal carotid arteries.
The internal carotid arteries branch at the base of the brain in an area called the circle of Willis.
A blood clot (thrombus) may form in the body, break-off, and travel to the brain through a carotid artery and the circle of Willis.
The blood clot may block the passage of blood through a brain artery, depriving nearby tissue of oxygen and nutrients. The result is a stroke.
Reviewed By: Daniel Kantor, MD, Kantor Neurology, Coconut Creek, FL and Immediate Past President of the Florida Society of Neurology (FSN), Gainesville, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Internal review and update on 07/24/2016 by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.