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

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

Profunda Brachii (Deep Brachial) Artery

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The deep brachial is the largest branch of the brachial although there is considerable variation in its origin. In 55% of individuals it arises as a single trunk from the posteromedial side of the brachial, slightly below the lower margin of the tendon of the teres major muscle.

The profunda may arise from the third part of the axillary artery (16%, Anson) or in common with one or more branches of that vessel, e.g., subscapular (19% of individuals, Poynter), or arise as a common trunk with the superior ulnar collateral (22%, Anson), axillary (16%) or anterior and/ or posterior (7%, Anson) circumflex humeral.

If its source is from the descending branch of the posterior circumflex humeral (7%) or from the deltoid branch of the profunda brachii (deep brachial) (~ 16% of individuals), this artery would then lie on the lateral side of the long head of the triceps.

It may give rise to the posterior circumflex, which then runs upward behind the teres major to reach the back of the shoulder.

In some cases, the deltoid branch of the profunda brachii (16% of individuals) arises from the brachial or from the superior ulnar collateral.

The profunda may be reduced in size and terminate in muscle without giving rise to the radial and medial collateral arteries.

Image 400


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 and Munich.

Dubrueil-Chambardel, L. (1926) Variations des Artères du Membre Supérieur. Massion Cie., Paris.

Guerrier, Y. and R. Paleirac. (1951) Le tronc artèriel antibrachial. Assoc. Anatomistes Comptes Rendus. 38:566-575.

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. 22:1-106.

Schwalbe, E. (1898) Beitrag zur Kenntniss der Arterienvarietäten des menschlichen Arms. Morphologische Arbeiten 8:1-47.

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