VCOM Research Day Program Book 2023

Medical Student Research Biomedical

06 Anatomical Variations of the Left Coronary Artery in a Sample of the Virginia Population

Chelsea J Bengson; Aaron Beger Corresponding author:

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine -Virginia Campus

The left coronary artery (LCA) typically arises from the ascending aorta in the area of the left aortic sinus. It travels between the left auricle and pulmonary trunk before bifurcating into the left anterior descending (LAD) and circumflex (Cx) arteries, which perfuses a wide territory of cardiac tissue, including the left ventricle, left atrium, and interventricular septum. Understanding anatomical variability of the LCA is important in a variety of clinical contexts, including coronary artery bypass grafting and interpretation of coronary angiograms. To better elucidate LCA morphology in the Virginia population, we investigated the hearts of 28 whole body donors (19F, 9M) willed to Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine via the Virginia State Anatomical Program. Length and extraluminal diameter were measured

in triplicate using Niko digital calipers, and heart dominance and the number of terminal branches were noted. Descriptive statistics revealed a mean length of 15.74 ± 6.05mm and mean width of 5.21 ± 0.74mm. 16 (57%) of LCAs bifurcated into the LAD and Cx as expected, 11 (39%) trifurcated into LAD, Cx and median arteries, and 1 (4%) had a retroaortic Cx that aberrantly arose from the right coronary artery, with the LAD arising directly from the ascending aorta. Two-sample t-tests revealed LCA length to not be significantly different in males versus females (16.94mm v. 15.14mm, p =0.48), nor bifurcating versus trifurcating morphologies (14.99mm v. 16.83mm, p =0.45), nor left versus right heart dominance (13.09mm v. 16.07mm, p =0.43). Similarly, LCA width did not significantly differ between males

versus females (5.67mm v. 5.12mm, p =.066), nor bifurcating versus trifurcating morphologies (5.48mm v. 5.06mm, p =0.15), nor left versus right heart dominance (5.16mm v. 5.32mm, p =0.73). Although limited by a small sample size, these preliminary results differ from what has been reported in other regions of the world. A larger study is warranted to determine if reliable patterns of LCA morphology exist in the Virginia population.


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