Anomalous origin of the coronary arteries
The arterial supply of the heart is provided by the left and right coronary arteries, which arise from the ascending aorta immediately above the aortic valve. An anomalous origin of the left coronary artery from the right aortic sinus and vice versa is reported to be between 0.6% - 5.6% and is a clinical relevant congenital coronary malformation as it can lead to sudden death. Coronary anomalies are a poorly understood topic in modern cardiology especially in developing countries like Tanzania. Anomalous origins of coronary arteries may cause potentially dangerous symptoms and even sudden death during strenuous activity. A cadaveric study in an unsuspected population provides a basis for understanding the normal variants, which may facilitate determination of the prevalence of anomalies and evaluation of the value of screening for such anomalies. The present study describes the normal and variant anatomy of coronary arteries in a Tanzanian population. A total of 75 hearts were studied, where 77.3% of them were obtained from male cadaverous specimens. Results revealed that in 2.7% of the hearts the left and right coronary artery had originated from a common ostium in the left aortic sinus. These variations have been reported in several case reports and studies. However, there are no such extensive studies being conducted among Tanzanians. The present study was undertaken to shed more light on this topic and it provides a basis for understanding the normal variants, for determining the incidence of anomalies, and for evaluating the value of screening for such anomalies.