Arteries are blood vessels that take blood away from the heart.
The largest artery, the aorta arises from the left ventricle of the heart. The first portion is known as the ascending aorta since it travels upward. The ascending aorta curves to the left. This curved portion is known as the aortic arch. The aortic arch curves downward to form the descending aorta.
Arising from the aortic arch are three arteries: the innominate artery, the left common carotid artery, and the left subclavian artery. The one closest to the right side of the heart is the innominate artery. The middle one is the left common carotid artery. The left common carotid artery supplies the left side of the head. The artery closest to the left side of the heart is called the left subclavian artery.
The innominate artery branches to form the right subclavian artery and the right common carotid artery. The right subclavian artery passes behind the right clavicle. In the axilla (armpit), it becomes the axillary artery. The axillary artery in turn becomes the brachial artery in the upper arm. At the level of the elbow, the brachial artery branches to form the radial artery and the ulnar artery which follow the radial bone and ulnar bone respectively. The right common carotid artery supplies the right side of the head.
The left subclavian artery passes behind the left clavicle. In the axilla, it becomes the axillary artery. The axillary artery in turn becomes the brachial artery in the upper arm. At the level of the elbow, the brachial artery branches to form the radial artery and the ulnar artery which follow the radial bone and ulnar bone respectively.
Anterior tibial artery Aortic arch Ascending aorta Axillary artery Brachial artery Celiac artery Common iliac artery Deep femoral artery Descending aorta External iliac artery Femoral artery Inferior mesenteric artery Innominate artery Internal iliac artery Left common carotid artery Left subclavian artery Popliteal artery Posterior tibial artery Radial artery Renal artery Right common carotid artery Right subclavian artery Superior mesenteric artery Ulnar artery
The descending aorta passes through the thoracic cavity and is sometimes called the thoracic aorta. After passing through the diaphragm, it is called the abdominal aorta. The first branch off the abdominal aorta is a single artery called the celiac artery. The celiac artery has branches that supply the stomach, liver, and spleen. The second branch off the abdominal aorta just below the celiac artery is a single artery called the superior mesenteric artery. The superior mesenteric artery primarily supplies the small intestine. Inferior to the superior mesenteric artery are the paired renal arteries which supply the kidneys. Inferior to the renal arteries is a single artery called the inferior mesenteric artery which supplies the large intestine.
In the lumbar region, the abdominal aorta divides to form the right and left common iliac arteries. Each common iliac artery divides to form a smaller branch known as the internal iliac artery and a larger branch known as the external iliac artery. The external iliac artery continues down the leg and divides to form the femoral artery which supplies the thigh. At the origin of the femoral artery, the deep femoral artery branches off and goes medially. The femoral artery continues down the medial and posterior side of the thigh to the back of the knee where it becomes the popliteal artery. Just below the knee the popliteal artery divides to form the anterior tibial artery and the posterior tibial artery.
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