Variations in the origin and termination of the profunda brachii artery (PBA) are rarely described in literature.
Knowledge of this unusual anatomy is important during brachial artery catheteriz
ation and harvesting of lateral arm flaps. One hundred and forty four arms from 72 cadavers of black Kenyans were dissected and examined for the origin and termination of PBA at the Department of Human Anatomy, University of Nairobi, Kenya. The patterns of origin and termination of the PBA were observed and recorded. The PBA was present in all the cases. It arose from the brachial, axillary and a common stem with the superior ulnar collateral arteries in 96.9%, 1.4 % and 1.7% of the cases respectively. It displayed duplication and early branching in 11.1% and 16.7% of the cases respectively. The high incidence of duplication and early branching makes it vulnerable to inadvertent injury during fractures of the humerus, brachial artery catheterization and may complicate lateral arm flaps. Preoperative angiographic evaluation is therefore recommended.