Prevalence and characteristics of vagus nerve variations on neck ultrasonography
Dongbin Ahn1 , Gil Joon Lee1, Jin Ho Sohn1, Jeong Kyu Kim2
1Kyungpook National University , Daegu, Korea
2Catholic University of Daegu, Daegu, Korea
Corresponding Author: Dongbin Ahn ,Tel: 82-53-200-5781, Fax: 82-53-423-4524, Email:
Received: February 25, 2021;  Accepted: April 26, 2021.  Published online: April 26, 2021.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the true prevalence and characteristics of vagus nerve (VN) variations using the carotid artery (CA) and the internal jugular vein (C-I axis)
We examined the patients who underwent neck US conducted by a single operator. A VN variation was defined as VN located anterior or medial to the C-I axis. The subtype of VN variation was classified into the anterolateral, anteromiddle, anteromedial, and medial variations based on the relative location of the VN to the CA. The primary outcome parameters were the prevalence of VN variations and differences according to side, age, and sex.
Out of 536 patients, right and left VN variations were identified in 20 (3.7%) and 186 (34.7%) patients, respectively (p<0.001). The anteromiddle type was the commonest type observed on both sides. Eight right (1.5%) and 50 left VNs (9.3%) were located <2 mm from the lateral border of the ipsilateral thyroid gland (p<0.001). The prevalence of VN variations in male and female patients were 42.1% and 32.7%, respectively, (p=0.029) and those of patients aged <20, 20–39, 40–59, and ≥60 years were 23.8%, 22.5%, 34.4%, and 47.4%, respectively, (p<0.001).
Variations in the VN position were relatively common on US. The variations primarily involved the left VN in the lower cervical region and an increasing prevalence with increasing age was observed.
Keywords: Neck; Vagus nerve; Variation; Ultrasonography; Prevalence
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