Variations in the branching pattern of the aortic arch: An African perspective
European Journal of Anatomy
Sociedad Anatomica Espanola
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Variation in the branches of the aortic arch is higher in individuals of African descent. However, published studies are few. The aims were to document variations in the branching pattern of the aortic arch in a South African sample, determine whether these variants are more common than other populations, and determine whether there are any significant differences in the prevalence of variation between males and females. The aortic arch and main branches were dissected in 733 cadavers. All branching patterns were documented and classified as types. Chi-Square tests were used to determine whether there were any significant differences in prevalence of variation between males and females. The diameters of the main branches were measured and compared between sexes.The standard branching pattern was present in 65% of individuals, similar to that reported for other African studies, but lower than other studies from around the world. Variations were more prevalent in males than in females (p = 0.025), while only the diameter of the left vertebral artery, when arising from the arch was significantly larger in females, with no differences between sexes for the other vessel diameters. The results of this study support the hypothesis that variations in the branching pattern of the aortic arch are more common in African individuals. These individuals may be at increased risk of associated although rare, clinical symptoms or iatrogenic injury.