Brachioradial artery

Last revised by Francis Deng on 18 Aug 2020

The brachioradial artery, also known as a high origin of the radial artery, represents an anatomical variant of the arterial branching pattern of the upper limb 1,2. It represents an artery originating proximal to the cubital fossa that will go on to form the radial artery. The brachioradial artery can originate from the brachial artery or, less frequently, from the axillary artery. Near the cubital fossa, it can present varying degrees of anastomosis with the brachial artery proper.

This variant anatomy is found in less than 10% of the population 1. It's importance lies, amongst other things, in not mistakenly identifying it as a vein during PICC line insertion. As most patients only have a single artery on the medial aspect of the arm, one might wrongly assume that the largest pulsating structure is the sole artery and that all other vascular structures are veins. Knowledge that some patients have brachioradial arteries should prompt a careful examination of the morphological characteristics of all the blood vessels present in order to avoid arterial placement of a venous catheter.

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