Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice

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Variations of renal vascular anatomy in a Nigerian population: A computerized tomography study

O.C. Famurewa, C.M. Asaleye, B.O. Ibitoye, O.O. Ayoola, A.S. Aderibigbe, T.A. Badmus


Background: A broad spectrum of renal vascular variations has been reported by anatomists and radiologists. The prevalence of these variations is extremely divergent in different populations. Therefore, radiologists and surgeons in different climes must be knowledgeable about the type and prevalence of the variants in their area of practice to avoid diagnostic pitfalls and for optimization of surgical techniques.

Objective: The objective of this study is to describe the types and prevalence of renal vascular variations among patients undergoing contrast‑enhanced computerized tomography (CECT) of the abdomen in a Nigerian population, as well as provide a concise review of literature on the embryological basis and clinical significance of the identified variations.

Materials and Methods: This study was a retrospective review of 200 CECT of the abdomen to identify variations of arterial (accessory, early branching, and precaval) and venous (multiple, retroaortic, and circumaortic) anatomy of the kidneys.

Results: We studied 200 patients, 102 (51%) females and 98 (49%) males. Age range is 18–90 years (mean = 53.08 ± 17.01). Prevalence of any renal vascular variations was 50%, arterial variations were 37%, and venous variations were 13%. Variations were significantly more common in males, P = 0.000075. The most common arterial variant was the accessory renal artery (23%) seen in 10% (right) and 13.0% (left); early branching was seen in 4.0% (right) and 0.5% (left) as well as precaval right renal artery seen in 4.5%. Venous variants were late confluence 3.0% (right) and 2.5% (left); multiple veins was seen in 2.5% (right) and 2.5% (left) as well as retroaortic left renal vein seen in 2.0%. The inferior polar accessory artery was the most prevalent accessory artery. Early arterial bifurcation was significantly more common on the right (P = 0.016) while other vascular variants showed no statistically significant association with laterality.

Conclusion: Variation of renal vascular anatomy is a frequent finding among Nigerians. Radiologists and surgeons must be aware of these variants for optimization of surgical techniques.

Keywords: Computerized tomography, kidney, Nigeria, variation, vascular anatomy

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