• costotransverse foramen;
  • last branch;
  • posterior intercostal artery;
  • variation


The present report describes an anomalous case of the right vertebral artery arising as the last branch of the aortic arch identified in a 76-year-old Japanese male cadaver during dissection in the anatomical laboratory of Kanazawa Medical University. The aortic arch itself coursed normally but the right vertebral artery was uniquely situated at the fourth branch next to the brachiocephalic artery, the left common carotid artery, and the left subclavian artery. The anomalous right vertebral artery branched into the esophageal branch, the prevertebral branch, and the second right posterior intercostal artery, and finally entered the first costotransverse foramen at the thoracic region as it passed upward through the first to the seventh transverse foramina of the cervical vertebra. The left vertebral artery was normal. The development of the right vertebral artery may be described as follows: (i) the distal portion of the right dorsal aorta, which usually disappears, persisted and became united, via post-costal longitudinal anastomosis; (ii) the right dorsal aorta between the seventh and eighth intersegmental arteries lost its connection to the main structure; and (iii) the fusion of the originally paired dorsal aorta extended around the 11th segment, which was two segments away from the normal portion of the structure.