Anatomical Variations of the Fifth Lumbar Artery in a sample Kenyan population

J O’o, J M, I O, T A. "Anatomical Variations of the Fifth Lumbar Artery in a sample Kenyan population." Ann Afr surg. 2022;19(2):100-107.


Background: Anatomical variations of lumbar arteries predispose them to iatrogenic injury during endovascular intervention or surgery. Due to limited morphological data on lumbar arteries in our setting, we aimed to determine their variant anatomy among Kenyans.

Methods: We performed the study on 90 cadaveric specimens and 120 computed tomography (CT) scans. Cadavers were dissected to expose the aorta and the lumbar arteries emerging from them. The number, origins, location relative to the vertebral bodies, and relations to aortic bifurcation were determined in cadavers and CT scans. Data were analyzed using SPSS (version 21.0).

Results: On average, 3 (3/90 [3.3%]), 4 (63/90 [70%]) or 5 (24/90 [26.7%]) pairs of lumbar arteries were observed among the cadaveric specimens, whereas 4 (100/120 [83.3%]) or 5 (20/120 [16.7%]) pairs were observed in CTs. Differences in the number of pairs observed in the cadaveric versus CT study were not statistically significant (P = .542). There were no sex differences in the number of lumbar artery pairs observed in CT scans (P = .178). The first 3 lumbar artery pairs had a single-origin, whereas the fourth lumbar artery had a common-stem origin. The first, second, and third lumbar arteries mostly originated at the upper third of their respective vertebral bodies. The fourth lumbar artery predominantly originated at the lower third.

Conclusion: Our study's findings show unique variation in the lumbar arteries' relation to the vertebral bodies and the distances between artery pairs.

Level of evidence: IV (cross-sectional study).

Clinical relevance: Variations in the anatomy of the lumbar arteries should be taken into consideration, especially in surgical or interventional procedures to avoid inadvertent injury of the vessels.


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