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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Head, Neck, and Thorax: Anterior Communicating Artery

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Head, Neck, and Thorax

Anterior Communicating Artery

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

This artery is occasionally doubled (7% of cases), and may exist in one of several patterns. In 50 brains, the anterior communicating artery had a diameter of 1.5 mm or less in 44%, and 1.0 mm or less in 16%.

In one study of 1647 brains, the anterior communicating artery was so small in 6% of cases that it restricted circulation (from one side to the other) between two anterior cerebrals.

The anterior communicating artery, contrary to many textbook descriptions, may not be oriented in a strictly transverse plane. It can be oriented in an oblique or anterior-posterior plane if one anterior cerebral artery passes between the hemispheres behind the other, as occurs in 80% of brains.

The anterior communcating artery is usually between 2 and 3 mm in length, but may vary from 0.3 to 7 mm.

It may be curved, kinked, or tortuous rather than straight.

One anterior communicating artery is found in 60% of brains; the other 40% of brains may have two or three arteries

The artery is rarely absent.

When doubled or tripled, the different arteries may be similar in diameter or may vary markedly. Commonly one is large and the other(s) small.

In one review (work of seven investigators) of variations in 1813 anterior communicating arteries, it was absent in four cases (0.22%); there were small areas of fusion in 17 cases (0.94%), an azygos anterior cerebral in 21 (1.16%), a double V or Y form in 225 (12.4%), and a treble or plexiform vessel in 56 (3.09%). The artery was single in 1473 cases (about 81%).

Image 83, Image 296, Image 415


de Almeida, F. (1933) Notes sur l'artère communicante anterieure. L'Assoc. Anatomistes, Comptes Rendus 28:14-15.

Anson, B.J., Ed. (1966) Morris' Human Anatomy, 12th ed., The Blakiston Division, McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York.

Bergman, R.A., Thompson, S.A., Afifi, A.K. and F.A. Saadeh. (1988) Compendium of Human Anatomic Variation: Catalog, Atlas and World Literature. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Baltimore Munich.

Busse, O. (1921) Aneurysmen und Bildungsfehler der Arteria communicans anterior. Arch. Pathol. Anat. Physiol. Klin. Med. 229:178-206.

Crudeli, R. (1960) Observations sur les aspects anatomiques de l'artère communicante antérieure. Neurochirurgie. 6:29-37.

Grisoli, J., Piganiol, G. and R. Sedan. (1957) L'artère cérébrale communicante antérieure. L'Assoc. Anatomistes, Comptes Rendus 44:349-355.

Kaplan, H.A. and D.H. Ford. (1966) The Brain Vascular System. Elsevier, Amsterdam.

Kirgis, J.D., Fisher, W.L., Llewellyn, R.C. and E. McC. Peebles. (1966) Aneurysms of anterior communicating artery and gross anomalies of the circle of Willis. J. Neurosurg. 25:73-78.

Kleiss, E. (1941-42) Die verschiedenen Formen des Circulus arteriosus cerebralis Willisi. Anat. Anz. 92:216-230.

Poynter, C.W.M. (1922) Congenital Anomalies of the Arteries and Veins of the Human Body with Bibliography. The University Studies of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. 22:1-106.

Stebbens, W.E. (1963) Aneurysms and anatomical variation of cerebral arteries. Arch. Pathol. 75:45-64.

Stopford, J.S.B. (1916) The anterior of the pours and medulla oblongata. J. Anat. Physiol. 50:133-164, 225-280.

Waddington, M.M. (1974) Atlas of Cerebral Angiography with Anatomic Correlation. Little, Brown and Co., Boston.

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