Aortic arch

The aortic arch and its branchesAnatomical peculiarities of the aortic arch and its major branches
~ 4 min

The aorta (aorta) is the largest vessel in the human body. It gives rise to all the arteries of the systemic circulation.

Aorta (aorta)
Aorta (aorta)

It has the following parts:

The ascending aorta (pars ascendens aortae)

Ascending aorta (pars ascendens aortae)
Ascending aorta (pars ascendens aortae)

The arch of the aorta (arcus aortae)

Arch of the aorta (arcus aortae)
Arch of the aorta (arcus aortae)

The descending aorta (pars descendens aortae)

Descending aorta (pars descendens aortae)
Descending aorta (pars descendens aortae)

The aorta arises from the left ventricle (ventriculus sinister). It is located to the left of the middle line of the body and arises from the left ventricle at the level of the third intercostal space.

Left ventricle (ventriculus sinister)
Left ventricle (ventriculus sinister)

The arch of the aorta (arcus aortae) is the continuation of the ascending aorta. It is turned to the left and posteriorly from the posterior surface of the second costal cartilage to the left side of the body of the fourth thoracic vertebra. The arch is thrown over the beginning of the left main bronchus.

Arch of the aorta (arcus aortae)
Arch of the aorta (arcus aortae)

Three major arteries arise from it. We list them from the proximal section to the distal:

The brachiocephalic trunk (truncus brachiocephalicus)

Brachiocephalic trunk (truncus brachiocephalicus)
Brachiocephalic trunk (truncus brachiocephalicus)

The left common carotid artery (a. carotis communis sinistra)

Left common carotid artery (a. carotis communis sinistra)
Left common carotid artery (a. carotis communis sinistra)

The left subclavian artery (a. subclavia sinistra)

Left subclavian artery (a. subclavia sinistra)
Left subclavian artery (a. subclavia sinistra)

The brachiocephalic trunk (truncus brachiocephalicus) arises from the arch of the aorta of the right side at the level of the 2nd right costal cartilage. It is located most proximally.

Brachiocephalic trunk (truncus brachiocephalicus)
Brachiocephalic trunk (truncus brachiocephalicus)
Brachiocephalic trunk (truncus brachiocephalicus)
Brachiocephalic trunk (truncus brachiocephalicus)

The brachiocephalic vein (v. brachiocephalica) is located in front of it, and the trachea (trachea) lies posteriorly. It goes to the right and superiorly without giving off any branches.

Brachiocephalic vein (v. brachiocephalica)
Brachiocephalic vein (v. brachiocephalica)

At the level of the right sternoclavicular joint (art. sternoclavicularis), it divides into the right common carotid (a. carotis communis dextra) and subclavian arteries (a. subclavia).

The right common carotid artery (a. carotis communis dextra) arises from the arch of the aorta. It goes anteriorly next to the trachea and oesophagus.

Right common carotid artery (a. carotis communis dextra)
Right common carotid artery (a. carotis communis dextra)

The sternocleidomastoid muscle (m. sternocleidomastoideus) and the superior belly of the omohyoid muscle (m. omohyoideus, venter superior) pass anteriorly. The transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae (processus transversus) are located posteriorly.

The internal jugular vein (v. jugularis interna) and the vagus nerve (n. vagus) are located laterally. The trachea and oesophagus are located medially.

At the level of the superior border of the thyroid cartilage, the common carotid artery divides into the external carotid artery (a. carotis externa) and the internal carotid artery (a. carotis interna).

External carotid artery (a. carotis externa)
External carotid artery (a. carotis externa)
External carotid artery (a. carotis externa)
External carotid artery (a. carotis externa)
Internal carotid artery (a. carotis interna)
Internal carotid artery (a. carotis interna)

The glomus carotid artery (glomus caroticus), which contains a dense capillary network and many nerve endings (chemoreceptors), is located in the bifurcation area.

The right and left arteries have an almost identical location.

The left subclavian artery (a. subclavia sinistra) arises from the arch of the aorta.

Left subclavian artery (a. subclavia sinistra)
Left subclavian artery (a. subclavia sinistra)

It has an almost identical location with the right one.

Forming an upward convex arc, the subclavian artery circumflexes the dome of the pleura and goes to the neck through the superior aperture of the thoracic cage, passes into the interstitial space, where it lies in the groove of the first rib of the same name. Coming out of the interstitial space, the artery continues into the axillary artery at the external border of the first rib.

It has a number of branches along its length:

The vertebral artery (a. vertebralis)

Vertebral artery (a. vertebralis)
Vertebral artery (a. vertebralis)
Vertebral artery (a. vertebralis)
Vertebral artery (a. vertebralis)

The internal thoracic artery (a. thoracica interna)

Internal thoracic artery (a. thoracica interna)
Internal thoracic artery (a. thoracica interna)

The thyrocervical trunk (truncus thyrocervicalis)

Thyrocervical trunk (truncus thyrocervicalis)
Thyrocervical trunk (truncus thyrocervicalis)
Thyrocervical trunk (truncus thyrocervicalis)
Thyrocervical trunk (truncus thyrocervicalis)

The costocervical trunk (truncus costocervicalis)

Costocervical trunk (truncus costocervicalis)
Costocervical trunk (truncus costocervicalis)

The transverse cervical artery (a. transversa coli)

Transverse cervical artery (a. transversa coli)
Transverse cervical artery (a. transversa coli)
Transverse cervical artery (a. transversa coli)
Transverse cervical artery (a. transversa coli)
Transverse cervical artery (a. transversa coli)
Transverse cervical artery (a. transversa coli)
Dictionary

The aortic arch and its branches

Brachiocephalic trunk
truncus brachiocephalicus
Arch of the aorta
arcus aortae
Brachiocephalic vein
v. brachiocephalica
Trachea
trachea
Sternoclavicular joint
art. sternoclavicularis
Right common carotidartery
a. carotis communis dextra
Common subclavian artery
a. subclavia
Common carotid artery
a. carotis communis
Sternocleidomastoid muscle
m. sternocleidomastoideus
Superior belly of theomohyoid muscle
m. omohyoideus, venter superior
Transverse processes
processus transversus
Internal jugular vein
v. jugularis interna
Vagus nerve
n. vagus
External carotid artery
a. carotis externa
Internal carotid artery
a. carotis interna
Glomus carotid artery
glomus caroticus
Left subclavian artery
a. subclavia sinistra
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