Aortic Arch


Known as the ascending portion of the aorta, the vessel extends down from the left ventricle. Part of the systemic circulation, the aorta is the main delivery system of oxygenated blood.

There are only two branches from the ascending aorta, and they are responsible for the delivery of oxygenated blood to the myocardium. These are known as the right and left coronary arteries.


The aortic arch is formed by the natural arch toward the left and posterior that the aorta forms over the pulmonary arteries. There are three branches which break from the aortic arch. These are known as the brachiocephalic trunk, the left common carotid artery, and the subclavian artery.

The first vessel to make its break from the aorta is the brachiocephalic trunk. It is responsible for providing oxygenated blood to the right shoulder, the right arm, and the right side of the head. Protruding upward just a slight distance from the sternum and the right clavicle, this artery is quite short, and makes its way through the mediastinum.

The next division is the branch of the right common carotid artery which supplies the right side of the head and neck.


Aortic Arch
Image: Aortic Arch

Following that, there is the branch that supplies the right shoulder and arm known as the subclavian artery. The left subclavian artery and the left common carotid artery also extend in the opposing direction in mirror images of the set up on the right side of the body. As with the right side of the body, these arteries supply the left shoulder and arm as well as the left side of the neck and head, respectively.

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