Aortic arch branches’ variations detected on chest CT

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Background: Knowing aortic arch branches’ variations before surgery of supraaortic arteries is important. Failure to detect critical variation at surgery may cause serious consequences. There is different incidence of variation reported in the literatures, and is possibly due to different race.

Objective:We determined the incidence and pattern of the aortic arch branches’ variation in Asian adults observed in chest computed tomography (CT).

Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed 687 chests CT between January 2006 and April 2007. The incidence and pattern of variations of aortic arch branches were analyzed.

Results: Of 687 studies, the variations of aortic arch branches were present in 76 patients. Six of 76 patients had more than one variant. The incidence of each variation was as follows: 5.97% common origin of left common carotid artery and brachiocephalic artery or left common carotid artery arising from brachiocephalic artery, 4.08% left vertebral artery arising from aortic arch, 0.29% right vertebral artery arising from brachiocephalic artery, 0.29% right vertebral artery arising from right common carotid artery, 1.16% aberrant right subclavian artery and 0.15% common origin of left common carotid artery and right common carotid artery with aberrant right subclavian artery.

Conclusion: There are some racial variations of the aortic arch branches. Our data provide information on the incidence of aortic arch branches’ variations in an Asian population. Despite these variations are usually asymptomatic, they may cause symptoms or complication during surgery of the head, neck and thorax in certain conditions.

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