Branches of the aortic arch and thoracic aorta of the sloth (Bradypus variegatus)

ABSTRACT Sloths are arboreal mammals, very specific, regarding their habits and morphology. This condition makes them even more vulnerable to environmental impacts. In order to provide information to assist in the medical and surgical assistance to these Xenarthras, a study of the aortic arch and thoracic portion of the descending aorta was carried out with the purpose of identify its main branches. Ten animals of the Bradypus variegatus species were used. One female and three males were submitted to dissection, where measurements of vessel diameter and length were obtained, while three females and three males were submitted to the digital contrast x-ray technique. There was a uniform syntopy of the arch, as well as of the descending portion of the aorta in the thorax. However, the topography differs considerably. Based on the branches, regardless of gender, a greater variation was observed in those originating from the arch, and those that emerge from the thoracic aorta and irrigate medial structures and the right antimere of the thorax. Greater values were obtained for the diameter of the arteries in the female than in the males and corresponding values for the length of the thoracic aorta in both. All this variation is possibly related to the adaptive processes of Bradipodidae over time.