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Clarifying the anatomy of the fifth arch artery


1 Department of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Cardiac Radiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
3 Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh Kumar Gupta
Room No. 23, 7th Floor CT Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-2069.171392

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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 62-67

 

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The artery allegedly forming in the fifth pharyngeal arch has increasingly been implicated as responsible for various vascular malformations in patients with congenitally malformed hearts. Observations from studies on developing embryos, however, have failed to provide support to substantiate several of these inferences such that the very existence of the fifth arch artery remains debatable. To the best of our knowledge, in only a solitary human embryo has a vascular channel been found that truly resembled the artery of the fifth arch. Despite the meager evidence to support its existence, the fifth arch artery has been invoked to explain the morphogenesis of double-barreled aorta, some unusual forms of aortopulmonary communications, and abnormalities of the brachiocephalic arteries. In most of these instances, the interpretations have proved fallible when examined in the light of existing knowledge of cardiac development. In our opinion, there are more plausible alternative explanations for the majority of these descriptions. Double-barreled aorta is more likely to result from retention of the recently identified dorsal collateral channels while abnormalities of brachiocephalic arteries are better explained on the basis of extensive remodeling of aortic arches during fetal development. Some examples of aortopulmonary communications, nonetheless, may well represent persistence of the developing artery of the fifth pharyngeal arch. We here present one such case - a patient with tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia, in whom the fifth arch artery provided a necessary communication between the ascending aorta and the pulmonary arteries. In this light, we discuss the features we consider to be essential before attaching the tag of "fifth arch artery" to a candidate vascular channel.






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1 Department of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Cardiac Radiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
3 Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh Kumar Gupta
Room No. 23, 7th Floor CT Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
India
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-2069.171392

Rights and Permissions

The artery allegedly forming in the fifth pharyngeal arch has increasingly been implicated as responsible for various vascular malformations in patients with congenitally malformed hearts. Observations from studies on developing embryos, however, have failed to provide support to substantiate several of these inferences such that the very existence of the fifth arch artery remains debatable. To the best of our knowledge, in only a solitary human embryo has a vascular channel been found that truly resembled the artery of the fifth arch. Despite the meager evidence to support its existence, the fifth arch artery has been invoked to explain the morphogenesis of double-barreled aorta, some unusual forms of aortopulmonary communications, and abnormalities of the brachiocephalic arteries. In most of these instances, the interpretations have proved fallible when examined in the light of existing knowledge of cardiac development. In our opinion, there are more plausible alternative explanations for the majority of these descriptions. Double-barreled aorta is more likely to result from retention of the recently identified dorsal collateral channels while abnormalities of brachiocephalic arteries are better explained on the basis of extensive remodeling of aortic arches during fetal development. Some examples of aortopulmonary communications, nonetheless, may well represent persistence of the developing artery of the fifth pharyngeal arch. We here present one such case - a patient with tetralogy of Fallot and pulmonary atresia, in whom the fifth arch artery provided a necessary communication between the ascending aorta and the pulmonary arteries. In this light, we discuss the features we consider to be essential before attaching the tag of "fifth arch artery" to a candidate vascular channel.






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