Patterns of the superficial veins of the cubital fossa: A meta-analysis

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The aim of this systematic review is to quantitatively synthesize evidence on the prevalence of superficial vein patterns in the cubital region.


A systematic literature search was conducted through a number of electronic databases. We identified 27 studies, including 9924 arms, which met the inclusion criteria.


Meta-analysis showed that “N” shaped arrangement type was the commonest pattern (≈44–60%) followed by “M” shaped arrangement (≈20–25%). The prevalence of “M” type and “M”-like type was significantly higher in males, whereas females showed a significant predominance of “I” or “O” type. No significant differences in various pattern types were found for laterality. The frequency of “M” type is significantly lesser in Indian and Japanese populations, but they have significantly higher frequency of “N” type. In Malay population, “I” or “O” type was significantly higher, while the brachial CV was poorly developed or missing significantly in Indian population.


This evidence-based clinical anatomy review contributes to our anatomical knowledge regarding the true prevalence of pattern types of the superficial veins in cubital region in humans and, subsequently, might help in performing safer venous access and more direct approaches to these veins, especially under emergency conditions.

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