Geometric Features of Vertebrobasilar Arterial System in Adult Black Kenyans

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Julius A. Ogeng’o; Philip M. Mwachaka; Dan E. Odhiambo; Simeon R. Sinkeet Hemed Elbusaidy; Beda Olabu & Martin Inyimili


Geometric features of vertebrobasilar system influence occurrence of posterior circulation atherosclerosis, aneurysms, stroke and neuroradiological procedures. These features show ethnic variation, but data from black Africans in Sub Saharan Africa are scarce. This study aimed to describe geometric features of vertebrobasilar system in a black Kenyan population. It was a descriptive cadaveric study at Department of Human Anatomy, University of Nairobi. One hundred and seventy three formalin-fixed adult brains of individuals (99 male; 74 female; Age range 20 - 79) who had died of non cerebrovascular causes were studied. Level and angle of confluence of vertebral artery; diameter, length and bifurcation angles of basilar artery were measured. Data were analysed by SPSS version 21 for windows. The student t – test was used to determine the sex differences at 95 % confidence interval. Data are presented in macrographs, tables and bar charts. Confluence of vertebral arteries occurred at the sulcus bulbopontinus in 79.8 %; rostral to it in 11.5 % and caudal to it in 8.7 % of cases. Mean angle of vertebral artery confluence was 46.7o and 68.9o in males and females respectively (p≤0.042). Mean length of the basilar artery was 26.8 mm; 26.3 mm in males and 27.1 mm in females (p=0.465). Mean diameter was 3.52 mm; 3.32 mm in males and 3.72 mm in females (p=0.002). The mean angle of basilar artery bifurcation was 120.3o ± 15.2; 99.3o ± 32.9 in males and 140.3o ± 16.1 in females (p=0.024). It was wider than 90o in 82.9 % of males and 95.9 % females (p=0.032). In 85 (49.1 %) it was wider than 120o. The vertebrobasilar system in the Kenyan population has geometric features that constitute risk factors for atherosclerosis. These features display sex dimorphism which may explain differences in prevalence of atherosclerosis and aneurysms. Neurosurgeons and neurologists should be aware of these differences. Individuals with risk prone geometric features should be followed up for atherosclerosis.

KEY WORDS: Vertebrobasilar system; Geometry; Sexual dimorphism; Africans.

How to cite this article

OGENG’O, J. A.; MWACHAKA, P. M.; ODHIAMBO, D. E.; SINKEET, S. R.; ELBUSAIDY, H.; OLABU, B. & INYIMILI, M. Geometric features of vertebrobasilar arterial system in adult black Kenyans. Int. J. Morphol., 36(2):544-550, 2018.