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Singapore Med J. 2012 Mar;53(3):208-11.

A morphological study of variations in the branching pattern and termination of the radial artery.

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Department of Anatomy, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal University, Manipal 576104, Karnataka, India.



Coronary artery bypass grafting is an established means of treating advanced coronary artery disease. In recent years, there has been an increased interest in the radial artery as an entry route during coronary angiography. Accurate knowledge of the branching pattern of this artery and its relation to surrounding structures is of great importance in the care of surgical patients.


This study was conducted on 75 formalin-fixed upper limbs in order to note the variations in the branching pattern and termination of the radial artery.


The radial artery divided into three branches in 2.7% of cases and into two branches in 52.0% of cases. The radial recurrent artery originated from the brachial artery instead of the radial artery in 12.0% of cases. The radial recurrent artery, palmar carpal artery, first dorsal metacarpal artery and superficial palmar artery were absent in 1.3%, 26.7%, 9.3% and 5.3% of cases, respectively. 6.7% of cases had a high origin of the superficial palmar artery.


The rich photographic documentation of the variation of branching pattern and termination of radial artery is not only of academic interest but also useful to surgeons and radiologists working in the same area.

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