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Anatomy of the coronary arteries in fetal pigs: comparison with human anatomy

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In this study, 94 fetal pigs were used to comprehensively investigate the origins, number, location, and distribution of the coronary arteries to enrich knowledge on the coronary circulation in fetal pigs, and allow comparison with adult pigs and humans. In fetal pigs, the posterior interventricular sulcus branch always arose from the right coronary artery and the circumflex artery was rarely extended to the posterior interventricular sulcus, while it is variable in humans. In fetal pigs, there was sometimes anastomosis (8.5%) between the left and right conus branches as nutrient arteries of the pulmonary cone. Other branches were not significantly different between fetal pigs and humans, including the acute marginal branch, obtuse marginal branch, and sinoatrial nodal artery. Coronary dominance was also similar. In conclusion, compared with adult pigs, dissection of the coronary arteries in fetal pigs provided a more faithful overview of the porcine coronary circulation. The coronary arteries in fetal pigs were also more suitable for comparison with humans when pigs are used as experimental animals for studying the coronary vessels, which could be an important reference for investigation of clinical treatment of the coronary arteries. In summary, our data provide reliable information about the distribution and ramifications of the coronary arteries, and could be useful for clinicians and surgeons who wish to comprehensively understand coronary anatomy.

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Anterior interventricular artery


Acute marginal branch




Atrioventricular nodal artery


Conus branch


Circumflex artery


Diagonal branch


High lateral branch


Left atrial branch


Left atrial appendage


Left coronary artery


Left posterolateral branch


Left ventricle


Left-ventricular branch


Obtuse marginal branch


Pulmonary artery


Posterior interventricular artery


Right posterolateral branch


Right atrial branch


Right atrial appendage


Right coronary artery


Right posterolateral branch


Right-ventricular branch


Sinoatrial nodal branch


Septal branch


Superior vena cava


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Correspondence to Shuang-Qin Yi.

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Dai, Y., Yi, K., Shimada, K. et al. Anatomy of the coronary arteries in fetal pigs: comparison with human anatomy. Anat Sci Int 95, 265–276 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12565-019-00516-z

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  • Coronary artery
  • Sinoatrial nodal artery
  • Atrioventricular nodal artery
  • Coronary circulation dominance
  • Comparative anatomy
  • Fetal pig