Surgical anatomy of the internal thoracic artery
Annals of Thoracic Surgery. New York: Elsevier B.V., v. 64, n. 4, p. 1041-1045, 1997.
Henriquez-Pino, Jorge A. [UNIFESP]
Gomes, Walter J. [UNIFESP]
Prates, José C. [UNIFESP]
Buffolo, Enio [UNIFESP]
Background. the internal thoracic artery (ITA) has become increasingly important in coronary artery bypass grafting due to the excellent long-term results. This study reviews its anatomic characteristics.Methods. the ITAs of 100 cadavers were examined and their origin, relation to the phrenic nerve, presence of lateral costal branch; origin of pericardiacophrenic arteries, length, level and type of ITA termination, relation with the transverse muscle of thorax, collateral parietal branches, and distance between the ITA and sternal margins were studied.Results. the ITA was present in all cases, originating directly from the subclavian artery or from a common trunk with other arteries. Its length was 20.4 cm on average, and the most frequent level of termination was at the sixth intercostal spate, existing as a bifurcation in 93% and as a trifurcation in 7%. the pericardiacophrenic artery originated from the ITA in 89%. the lateral costal branch was present in 15% of the cases. the ITA was covered by the transverse muscle of the thorax for 7.5 cm (average) and was crossed anteriorly by the phrenic nerve in 70.0%.Conclusions. Information provided by this study may contribute to knowledge of its anatomic characteristics and in turn help prevent complications in ITA dissections. (C) 1997 by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons.