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Anatomy Journal of Africa

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Anatomical variations of the vertebral artery in a Zambian indigenous adult population undergoing computerised tomography angiography at the university teaching hospitals Lusaka, Zambia

Mutalife Fridah, Sing'ombe Isaac, Nambule Vivienne, Sikhanyiso Mutemwa, Kafumukache Elliot, Sunkutu Veronica, Krikor Erzingastian

Abstract


Vertebral artery is an important source of blood supply to the brain which arises from the subclavian arteries. Anatomical variations have been incidentally reported during autopsy and angiograms. These variations predispose to development of aneurysms, dissections and may lead to vertebrobasilar ischaemia and posterior circulation stroke. Knowledge of variations of the great vessels of the neck is important for endovascular interventionists and diagnostic radiologists, more so in the era of new therapeutic options for intracranial interventions. Forty-two computerised tomography angiograms at the University Teaching Hospitals, Radiology Department Lusaka were examined to investigate vertebral artery variations in a Zambian population and determine the origin of the vessels. These paired vessels were examined thoroughly individually. Eighty-four arteries were examined eighty one (96.4%) had origin from the subclavian artery while three (3.6%) left took origin from the aortic arch. Variations found were two (2.4%) right vertebral arteries had fenestrations, ten (11.9%) had dual origin and one (1.2%) left was hypoplastic. The age ranged from 18 and 81 with mean age of (42.5±) of these seven females and four males had variations. Demographic characteristic (gender and age) had no statistically significant association to variations of vertebral artery (P>0.05). Variations of the vertebral artery are common. Knowledge of these variations is important and helpful in preventing iatrogenic injuries and haemorrhage during endovascular intervention and diagnostic procedures.

Keywords: Vertebral artery, duplication, fenestrations, hypoplasia




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