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Three-Dimensional Time-of-Flight Magnetic Resonance Angiography Detection of Duplication of the Vertebral Artery in a Large Chinese Population

Shuhua Li, Yunyun Li, Min Bai, Chuanchen Zhang

Department of Radiology, Liaocheng People’s Hospital, Liaocheng, Shandong, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2016; 22:3771-3777

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.897503

Available online:

Published: 2016-10-17

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate duplication of the vertebral artery (VA) using three-dimensional time-of-flight (3D TOF) magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) in a large study population to further our understanding of vascular variations.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 3D TOF-MRA data in 12 826 cases was performed. The occurrence rate of VA duplication was calculated and accompanied vascular anomalies were recoded.
RESULTS: Twenty-one VA duplication patients were found, with an occurrence rate of 0.164%; 12 of them had left VA duplication with 2 branches initially arising from the aortic arch and left subclavian artery; 9 of them were right VA duplication with the branches originating from the right subclavian artery. In the 21 cases, 11 had other vascular abnormalities.
CONCLUSIONS: VA duplication is very rare and often associated with other vascular abnormalities. 3D TOF-MRA can accurately display the duplication variation. Better understanding of the variation is instrumental for disease diagnosis, interventional therapy, and surgical operation.

Keywords: Adult, Adolescent, Aged, 80 and over, Aorta, Thoracic - diagnostic imaging, Child, China, Magnetic Resonance Angiography - methods, Subclavian Artery - diagnostic imaging, Vertebral Artery - pathology