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18.10C: Arch of the Aorta

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  • Page ID
    7891
  • The arch of the aorta follows the ascending aorta and begins at the level of the second sternocostal articulation of the right side.

     

    LEARNING OBJECTIVES

     

    Describe the function of arch of the aorta

     

    KEY TAKEAWAYS

    Key Points

     

    • Three vessels come out of the aortic arch: the brachiocephalic artery, the left common carotid artery, and the left subclavian artery.
    • These vessels supply blood to the head, neck, thorax and upper limbs.
    • In some individuals, the left common carotid artery and left subclavian artery may arise from the brachiocephalic artery rather than the aortic arch.

     

    Key Terms

     

    • arch of the aorta: Also called the transverse aortic arch, is continuous with the upper border of the ascending aorta and begins at the level of the upper border of the second sternocostal articulation of the right side.

    This diagram of the aortic arch includes the right and left common carotid arteries, right and left subclavian arteries, brachiocephalic artery, ascending and descending aorta, and right and left coronary arteries.

    Aortic arch: This diagram shows the arch of the aorta and its branches.

    The arch of the aorta, or the transverse aortic arch, is continuous with the upper border of the ascending aorta and begins at the level of the upper border of the second sternocostal articulation of the right side. The arch of the aorta runs at first upward, backward, and to the left in front of the trachea; it is then directed backward on the left side of the trachea and finally passes downward on the left side of the body of the fourth thoracic vertebra. At the lower border, this vertebra becomes continuous with the descending aorta.

    Three vessels come out of the aortic arch: the brachiocephalic artery, the left common carotid artery, and the left subclavian artery. These vessels supply blood to the head, neck, thorax and upper limbs. In approximately 20% of individuals, the left common carotid artery arises from the brachiocephalic artery rather than the aortic arch, and in approximately 7% of individuals the left subclavian artery also arises here.