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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Vertebral Artery Variations.

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System

Vertebral Artery Variations.

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

Image of vertebral artery variations

This study was based on 693 laboratory specimens.

Upper middle and middle left;Usual vascular pattern with vertebral artery arising from upper, posterior surface of subclavian artery 1/2 to 2 cm medial to thyrocervical trunk; 576 of 693 specimens, 83.12%.

Middle right;Vertebral artery displaced more than 2 cm medial to the thyrocervical trunk but still derived from subclavian artery; 58 of 693 specimens, 8.37%; 25 right 33 left.

Middle middle;Vertebral artery arises from subclavian artery lateral to or as common trunk with thyrocervical trunk; 21 of 693 specimens, 3.03%; 17 right, 4 left. In all of these cases, the vertebral artery arose from a common stem with the thyrocervical trunk on the left side. In only 3 of these specimens did the right vertebral arise as a branch of the second portion of the subclavian artery.

Lower left;Left vertebral artery arising as direct branch of aortic arch between left common carotid and left subclavian arteries; 17 of 693 specimens, 2.46%. Right vertebral artery, however, arising at site of bifurcation of innominate artery imto right subclavian and right common carotid arteries; 7 of 693 specimens,1.11%.

Lower middle;Right vertebral artery arising as direct branch of right common carotid artery; 2 of 693 specimens, 0.28 %. Lower right; Dual or accessory vertebral arteries were encountered in 5 of 693 specimens, 0.72%; all were left sided. Three small accessory vertebral arteries arose as direct branches of the aortic arch, and 2 as a branch of the thyrocervical trunk. In all cases, the larger or main vertebral artery arose from the left subclavian artery.

redrawn from Daseler and Anson, 1959.

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