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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Upper Limb: Median Artery

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Upper Limb

Median Artery

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

A significant median artery (comes nervi mediani) may persist in the adult (8%). The main supply of the hand in the embryo is the median artery. This is followed, in development, by the anterior interosseous, which is finally replaced by the ulnar and radial arteries as the principal blood supply of the hand.

Either the the anterior interosseous or the median may enter into the formation of the superficial palmar arch if the ulnar is deficient or absent.

In one study, a median artery entered the hand through the carpal tunnel: bilaterally in four and unilaterally in three cases (66 bodies, 132 hand dissections). In five cases, median arteries participated in the superficial palmar arch, either by joining the radial (three cases) or the ulnar (two cases). In six cases, there was no palmar arch and the median artery supplied the fingers directly. The median frequently arises from the common interosseous or the anteror interosseous arteries.

In some cases the median artery runs a superficial course through the forearm.

The median artery may terminate in the radial artery.

High Origin (HO) of the Arteries of the Forearm
Median Artery

Number of Observations



1) 380 0
2) 270 12




3) 136 4





1) Statistics by Giacomini.
2) Statistics by authors cited by Giacomini.
3) Statistics by Dubreuil-Chambardel.

Image 29, Image 33, Image 34, Image 35, Image 36, Image 38, Image 56, Image 60, Image 65, Image 79, Image 133, Image 134, Image 138, Image 141, Image 249A, Image 249B, Image 249C, Image 249D, Image 250, Image 252A, Image 252B, Image 252C, Image 252D, Image 252E,Image 252F, Image 252G, Image 252H, Image 252I, Image 252J, Image 330, Image 330A Image 488, Image 499Image 501


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