Discussion. In 1927, Kugel described atrial anastomotic branches that connected the anterior coronary circulation located around the aortic root (left main, proximal left circumflex artery, proximal right coronary artery) to the posterior arterial circulation (usually the distal right coronary artery). Kugel’s original article describes this “arteria anastomotica auricularis magna”, which means large atrial anastomotic branch.1 This artery can serve as an important collateral in patients with severe atherosclerotic coronary disease.2
Work on necropsy hearts by Nerantzis et al demonstrated that all hearts have an anastomotic network that courses through the atrial septum and connects the proximal anterior coronary arteries with the distal posterior coronary arteries. However, they found a single identifiable “Kugel’s artery” in only 6% of the cases.3 This variation of the traditional description of the Kugel’s artery has not, to our knowledge, been previously described.
- Kugel MA. Anatomical studies on the coronary arteries and their branches. I. Arteria anastomotica auricularis magna. Am Heart J 1927;3:260–270.
- Grollman JH Jr, Heger L. Angiographic anatomy of the left Kugel’s artery. Cathet Cardiovasc Diagn 1978;4:127–133.
- Nerantzis CE, Marianou SK, Koulouris SN, et al. Kugel's artery: An anatomical and angiographic study using a new technique. Tex Heart Inst J 2004;31:267–270.