ABSTRACT: Introduction: Commonly, the kidney is supplied by a single renal artery (RA). However, anatomical variants exist in more than 40% of the population. The nomenclatures used in literature to describe these variations are not comprehensive. We compare the different nomenclatures among the literature with the aim to mark their concordances and discrepancies, as well as to highlight and recommend descriptors to facilitate the understanding and communication regarding this subject. Material and Methods: Searches on the CAPES, Bireme and Pubmed databases for articles (published between 1992 and 2013) with the descriptors “Kidney”, “Vessels”, “Variations” and “Anatomy” were performed. Original works were included with samples of at least 50 kidneys. Articles regarding only parenchymal or collection system variations were excluded. Results: 17 articles were selected in total. The nomenclature for the renal vascular arterial anatomy presents various terms such as “Main”, “Multiple”, “Accessory”, “aberrant”. Due to the differences between the nomenclatures, there was difficulty to group and compare the results of the various studies of prevalence. Many nomenclatures differ among each other to name a vessel of the same variant, while others are insufficient to describe them with clarity and specificity and, sometimes, they ultimately diverge even in the same study. We propose the use of a standardized universal and systematized new nomenclature from an adaption of the nomenclature proposed by Sampaio and Passos. Conclusion: The main aspect of this terminology proposed herein consists in the designation of the renal vessels according to their origin and destiny. As such, this terminology is succinct, self-sufficient and specific for everyday use by professionals and researchers.
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