Virtually every cell, tissue, organ, and system in the body is impacted by the circulatory system. This includes the generalized and more specialized functions of transport of materials, capillary exchange, maintaining health by transporting white blood cells and various immunoglobulins (antibodies), hemostasis, regulation of body temperature, and helping to maintain acid-base balance. In addition to these shared functions, many systems enjoy a unique relationship with the circulatory system. Figure 20.22 summarizes these relationships.
Figure 20.22Interaction of the Circulatory System with Other Body Systems
As you learn about the vessels of the systemic and pulmonary circuits, notice that many arteries and veins share the same names, parallel one another throughout the body, and are very similar on the right and left sides of the body. These pairs of vessels will be traced through only one side of the body. Where differences occur in branching patterns or when vessels are singular, this will be indicated. For example, you will find a pair of femoral arteries and a pair of femoral veins, with one vessel on each side of the body. In contrast, some vessels closer to the midline of the body, such as the aorta, are unique. Moreover, some superficial veins, such as the great saphenous vein in the femoral region, have no arterial counterpart. Another phenomenon that can make the study of vessels challenging is that names of vessels can change with location. Like a street that changes name as it passes through an intersection, an artery or vein can change names as it passes an anatomical landmark. For example, the left subclavian artery becomes the axillary artery as it passes through the body wall and into the axillary region, and then becomes the brachial artery as it flows from the axillary region into the upper arm (or brachium). You will also find examples of anastomoses where two blood vessels that previously branched reconnect. Anastomoses are especially common in veins, where they help maintain blood flow even when one vessel is blocked or narrowed, although there are some important ones in the arteries supplying the brain.
As you read about circular pathways, notice that there is an occasional, very large artery referred to as a trunk, a term indicating that the vessel gives rise to several smaller arteries. For example, the celiac trunk gives rise to the left gastric, common hepatic, and splenic arteries.
As you study this section, imagine you are on a “Voyage of Discovery” similar to Lewis and Clark’s expedition in 1804–1806, which followed rivers and streams through unfamiliar territory, seeking a water route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. You might envision being inside a miniature boat, exploring the various branches of the circulatory system. This simple approach has proven effective for many students in mastering these major circulatory patterns. Another approach that works well for many students is to create simple line drawings similar to the ones provided, labeling each of the major vessels. It is beyond the scope of this text to name every vessel in the body. However, we will attempt to discuss the major pathways for blood and acquaint you with the major named arteries and veins in the body. Also, please keep in mind that individual variations in circulation patterns are not uncommon.
Recall that blood returning from the systemic circuit enters the right atrium (Figure 20.23) via the superior and inferior venae cavae and the coronary sinus, which drains the blood supply of the heart muscle. These vessels will be described more fully later in this section. This blood is relatively low in oxygen and relatively high in carbon dioxide, since much of the oxygen has been extracted for use by the tissues and the waste gas carbon dioxide was picked up to be transported to the lungs for elimination. From the right atrium, blood moves into the right ventricle, which pumps it to the lungs for gas exchange. This system of vessels is referred to as the pulmonary circuit.
The single vessel exiting the right ventricle is the pulmonary trunk. At the base of the pulmonary trunk is the pulmonary semilunar valve, which prevents backflow of blood into the right ventricle during ventricular diastole. As the pulmonary trunk reaches the superior surface of the heart, it curves posteriorly and rapidly bifurcates (divides) into two branches, a left and a right pulmonary artery. To prevent confusion between these vessels, it is important to refer to the vessel exiting the heart as the pulmonary trunk, rather than also calling it a pulmonary artery. The pulmonary arteries in turn branch many times within the lung, forming a series of smaller arteries and arterioles that eventually lead to the pulmonary capillaries. The pulmonary capillaries surround lung structures known as alveoli that are the sites of oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange.
Once gas exchange is completed, oxygenated blood flows from the pulmonary capillaries into a series of pulmonary venules that eventually lead to a series of larger pulmonary veins. Four pulmonary veins, two on the left and two on the right, return blood to the left atrium. At this point, the pulmonary circuit is complete. Table 20.4 defines the major arteries and veins of the pulmonary circuit discussed in the text.
Figure 20.23Pulmonary Circuit Blood exiting from the right ventricle flows into the pulmonary trunk, which bifurcates into the two pulmonary arteries. These vessels branch to supply blood to the pulmonary capillaries, where gas exchange occurs within the lung alveoli. Blood returns via the pulmonary veins to the left atrium.Pulmonary Arteries and Veins
|Pulmonary trunk||Single large vessel exiting the right ventricle that divides to form the right and left pulmonary arteries|
|Pulmonary arteries||Left and right vessels that form from the pulmonary trunk and lead to smaller arterioles and eventually to the pulmonary capillaries|
|Pulmonary veins||Two sets of paired vessels—one pair on each side—that are formed from the small venules, leading away from the pulmonary capillaries to flow into the left atrium|
Overview of Systemic Arteries:
Blood relatively high in oxygen concentration is returned from the pulmonary circuit to the left atrium via the four pulmonary veins. From the left atrium, blood moves into the left ventricle, which pumps blood into the aorta. The aorta and its branches—the systemic arteries—send blood to virtually every organ of the body (Figure 20.24).
Figure 20.24Systemic Arteries The major systemic arteries shown here deliver oxygenated blood throughout the body.
The aorta is the largest artery in the body (Figure 20.25). It arises from the left ventricle and eventually descends to the abdominal region, where it bifurcates at the level of the fourth lumbar vertebra into the two common iliac arteries. The aorta consists of the ascending aorta, the aortic arch, and the descending aorta, which passes through the diaphragm and a landmark that divides into the superior thoracic and inferior abdominal components. Arteries originating from the aorta ultimately distribute blood to virtually all tissues of the body. At the base of the aorta is the aortic semilunar valve that prevents backflow of blood into the left ventricle while the heart is relaxing. After exiting the heart, the ascending aorta moves in a superior direction for approximately 5 cm and ends at the sternal angle. Following this ascent, it reverses direction, forming a graceful arc to the left, called the aortic arch. The aortic arch descends toward the inferior portions of the body and ends at the level of the intervertebral disk between the fourth and fifth thoracic vertebrae. Beyond this point, the descending aorta continues close to the bodies of the vertebrae and passes through an opening in the diaphragm known as the aortic hiatus. Superior to the diaphragm, the aorta is called the thoracic aorta, and inferior to the diaphragm, it is called the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta terminates when it bifurcates into the two common iliac arteries at the level of the fourth lumbar vertebra. See Figure 20.25 for an illustration of the ascending aorta, the aortic arch, and the initial segment of the descending aorta plus major branches; Table 20.5 summarizes the structures of the aorta.
Figure 20.25Aorta The aorta has distinct regions, including the ascending aorta, aortic arch, and the descending aorta, which includes the thoracic and abdominal regions.Components of the Aorta
|Aorta||Largest artery in the body, originating from the left ventricle and descending to the abdominal region, where it bifurcates into the common iliac arteries at the level of the fourth lumbar vertebra; arteries originating from the aorta distribute blood to virtually all tissues of the body|
|Ascending aorta||Initial portion of the aorta, rising superiorly from the left ventricle for a distance of approximately 5 cm|
|Aortic arch||Graceful arc to the left that connects the ascending aorta to the descending aorta; ends at the intervertebral disk between the fourth and fifth thoracic vertebrae|
|Descending aorta||Portion of the aorta that continues inferiorly past the end of the aortic arch; subdivided into the thoracic aorta and the abdominal aorta|
|Thoracic aorta||Portion of the descending aorta superior to the aortic hiatus|
|Abdominal aorta||Portion of the aorta inferior to the aortic hiatus and superior to the common iliac arteries|
The first vessels that branch from the ascending aorta are the paired coronary arteries (see Figure 20.25), which arise from two of the three sinuses in the ascending aorta just superior to the aortic semilunar valve. These sinuses contain the aortic baroreceptors and chemoreceptors critical to maintain cardiac function. The left coronary artery arises from the left posterior aortic sinus. The right coronary artery arises from the anterior aortic sinus. Normally, the right posterior aortic sinus does not give rise to a vessel.
The coronary arteries encircle the heart, forming a ring-like structure that divides into the next level of branches that supplies blood to the heart tissues. (Seek additional content for more detail on cardiac circulation.)
Aortic Arch Branches:
There are three major branches of the aortic arch: the brachiocephalic artery, the left common carotid artery, and the left subclavian (literally “under the clavicle”) artery. As you would expect based upon proximity to the heart, each of these vessels is classified as an elastic artery.
The brachiocephalic artery is located only on the right side of the body; there is no corresponding artery on the left. The brachiocephalic artery branches into the right subclavian artery and the right common carotid artery. The left subclavian and left common carotid arteries arise independently from the aortic arch but otherwise follow a similar pattern and distribution to the corresponding arteries on the right side (see Figure 20.23).
Each subclavian artery supplies blood to the arms, chest, shoulders, back, and central nervous system. It then gives rise to three major branches: the internal thoracic artery, the vertebral artery, and the thyrocervical artery. The internal thoracic artery, or mammary artery, supplies blood to the thymus, the pericardium of the heart, and the anterior chest wall. The vertebral artery passes through the vertebral foramen in the cervical vertebrae and then through the foramen magnum into the cranial cavity to supply blood to the brain and spinal cord. The paired vertebral arteries join together to form the large basilar artery at the base of the medulla oblongata. This is an example of an anastomosis. The subclavian artery also gives rise to the thyrocervical artery that provides blood to the thyroid, the cervical region of the neck, and the upper back and shoulder.
The common carotid artery divides into internal and external carotid arteries. The right common carotid artery arises from the brachiocephalic artery and the left common carotid artery arises directly from the aortic arch. The external carotid artery supplies blood to numerous structures within the face, lower jaw, neck, esophagus, and larynx. These branches include the lingual, facial, occipital, maxillary, and superficial temporal arteries. The internal carotid artery initially forms an expansion known as the carotid sinus, containing the carotid baroreceptors and chemoreceptors. Like their counterparts in the aortic sinuses, the information provided by these receptors is critical to maintaining cardiovascular homeostasis (see Figure 20.23).
The internal carotid arteries along with the vertebral arteries are the two primary suppliers of blood to the human brain. Given the central role and vital importance of the brain to life, it is critical that blood supply to this organ remains uninterrupted. Recall that blood flow to the brain is remarkably constant, with approximately 20 percent of blood flow directed to this organ at any given time. When blood flow is interrupted, even for just a few seconds, a transient ischemic attack (TIA), or mini-stroke, may occur, resulting in loss of consciousness or temporary loss of neurological function. In some cases, the damage may be permanent. Loss of blood flow for longer periods, typically between 3 and 4 minutes, will likely produce irreversible brain damage or a stroke, also called a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). The locations of the arteries in the brain not only provide blood flow to the brain tissue but also prevent interruption in the flow of blood. Both the carotid and vertebral arteries branch once they enter the cranial cavity, and some of these branches form a structure known as the arterial circle (or circle of Willis), an anastomosis that is remarkably like a traffic circle that sends off branches (in this case, arterial branches to the brain). As a rule, branches to the anterior portion of the cerebrum are normally fed by the internal carotid arteries; the remainder of the brain receives blood flow from branches associated with the vertebral arteries.
The internal carotid artery continues through the carotid canal of the temporal bone and enters the base of the brain through the carotid foramen where it gives rise to several branches (Figure 20.26 and Figure 20.27). One of these branches is the anterior cerebral artery that supplies blood to the frontal lobe of the cerebrum. Another branch, the middle cerebral artery, supplies blood to the temporal and parietal lobes, which are the most common sites of CVAs. The ophthalmic artery, the third major branch, provides blood to the eyes.
The right and left anterior cerebral arteries join together to form an anastomosis called the anterior communicating artery. The initial segments of the anterior cerebral arteries and the anterior communicating artery form the anterior portion of the arterial circle. The posterior portion of the arterial circle is formed by a left and a right posterior communicating artery that branches from the posterior cerebral artery, which arises from the basilar artery. It provides blood to the posterior portion of the cerebrum and brain stem. The basilar artery is an anastomosis that begins at the junction of the two vertebral arteries and sends branches to the cerebellum and brain stem. It flows into the posterior cerebral arteries. Table 20.6 summarizes the aortic arch branches, including the major branches supplying the brain.
Figure 20.26Arteries Supplying the Head and Neck The common carotid artery gives rise to the external and internal carotid arteries. The external carotid artery remains superficial and gives rise to many arteries of the head. The internal carotid artery first forms the carotid sinus and then reaches the brain via the carotid canal and carotid foramen, emerging into the cranium via the foramen lacerum. The vertebral artery branches from the subclavian artery and passes through the transverse foramen in the cervical vertebrae, entering the base of the skull at the vertebral foramen. The subclavian artery continues toward the arm as the axillary artery.
Figure 20.27Arteries Serving the Brain This inferior view shows the network of arteries serving the brain. The structure is referred to as the arterial circle or circle of Willis.Aortic Arch Branches and Brain Circulation
|Brachiocephalic artery||Single vessel located on the right side of the body; the first vessel branching from the aortic arch; gives rise to the right subclavian artery and the right common carotid artery; supplies blood to the head, neck, upper limb, and wall of the thoracic region|
|Subclavian artery||The right subclavian artery arises from the brachiocephalic artery while the left subclavian artery arises from the aortic arch; gives rise to the internal thoracic, vertebral, and thyrocervical arteries; supplies blood to the arms, chest, shoulders, back, and central nervous system|
|Internal thoracic artery||Also called the mammary artery; arises from the subclavian artery; supplies blood to the thymus, pericardium of the heart, and anterior chest wall|
|Vertebral artery||Arises from the subclavian artery and passes through the vertebral foramen through the foramen magnum to the brain; joins with the internal carotid artery to form the arterial circle; supplies blood to the brain and spinal cord|
|Thyrocervical artery||Arises from the subclavian artery; supplies blood to the thyroid, the cervical region, the upper back, and shoulder|
|Common carotid artery||The right common carotid artery arises from the brachiocephalic artery and the left common carotid artery arises from the aortic arch; each gives rise to the external and internal carotid arteries; supplies the respective sides of the head and neck|
|External carotid artery||Arises from the common carotid artery; supplies blood to numerous structures within the face, lower jaw, neck, esophagus, and larynx|
|Internal carotid artery||Arises from the common carotid artery and begins with the carotid sinus; goes through the carotid canal of the temporal bone to the base of the brain; combines with the branches of the vertebral artery, forming the arterial circle; supplies blood to the brain|
|Arterial circle or circle of Willis||An anastomosis located at the base of the brain that ensures continual blood supply; formed from the branches of the internal carotid and vertebral arteries; supplies blood to the brain|
|Anterior cerebral artery||Arises from the internal carotid artery; supplies blood to the frontal lobe of the cerebrum|
|Middle cerebral artery||Another branch of the internal carotid artery; supplies blood to the temporal and parietal lobes of the cerebrum|
|Ophthalmic artery||Branch of the internal carotid artery; supplies blood to the eyes|
|Anterior communicating artery||An anastomosis of the right and left internal carotid arteries; supplies blood to the brain|
|Posterior communicating artery||Branches of the posterior cerebral artery that form part of the posterior portion of the arterial circle; supplies blood to the brain|
|Posterior cerebral artery||Branch of the basilar artery that forms a portion of the posterior segment of the arterial circle of Willis; supplies blood to the posterior portion of the cerebrum and brain stem|
|Basilar artery||Formed from the fusion of the two vertebral arteries; sends branches to the cerebellum, brain stem, and the posterior cerebral arteries; the main blood supply to the brain stem|
Thoracic Aorta and Major Branches
The thoracic aorta begins at the level of vertebra T5 and continues through to the diaphragm at the level of T12, initially traveling within the mediastinum to the left of the vertebral column. As it passes through the thoracic region, the thoracic aorta gives rise to several branches, which are collectively referred to as visceral branches and parietal branches (Figure 20.28). Those branches that supply blood primarily to visceral organs are known as the visceral branches and include the bronchial arteries, pericardial arteries, esophageal arteries, and the mediastinal arteries, each named after the tissues it supplies. Each bronchial artery (typically two on the left and one on the right) supplies systemic blood to the lungs and visceral pleura, in addition to the blood pumped to the lungs for oxygenation via the pulmonary circuit. The bronchial arteries follow the same path as the respiratory branches, beginning with the bronchi and ending with the bronchioles. There is considerable, but not total, intermingling of the systemic and pulmonary blood at anastomoses in the smaller branches of the lungs. This may sound incongruous—that is, the mixing of systemic arterial blood high in oxygen with the pulmonary arterial blood lower in oxygen—but the systemic vessels also deliver nutrients to the lung tissue just as they do elsewhere in the body. The mixed blood drains into typical pulmonary veins, whereas the bronchial artery branches remain separate and drain into bronchial veins described later. Each pericardial artery supplies blood to the pericardium, the esophageal artery provides blood to the esophagus, and the mediastinal artery provides blood to the mediastinum. The remaining thoracic aorta branches are collectively referred to as parietal branches or somatic branches, and include the intercostal and superior phrenic arteries. Each intercostal artery provides blood to the muscles of the thoracic cavity and vertebral column. The superior phrenic artery provides blood to the superior surface of the diaphragm. Table 20.7 lists the arteries of the thoracic region.
Figure 20.28Arteries of the Thoracic and Abdominal Regions The thoracic aorta gives rise to the arteries of the visceral and parietal branches.Arteries of the Thoracic Region
|Visceral branches||A group of arterial branches of the thoracic aorta; supplies blood to the viscera (i.e., organs) of the thorax|
|Bronchial artery||Systemic branch from the aorta that provides oxygenated blood to the lungs; this blood supply is in addition to the pulmonary circuit that brings blood for oxygenation|
|Pericardial artery||Branch of the thoracic aorta; supplies blood to the pericardium|
|Esophageal artery||Branch of the thoracic aorta; supplies blood to the esophagus|
|Mediastinal artery||Branch of the thoracic aorta; supplies blood to the mediastinum|
|Parietal branches||Also called somatic branches, a group of arterial branches of the thoracic aorta; include those that supply blood to the thoracic wall, vertebral column, and the superior surface of the diaphragm|
|Intercostal artery||Branch of the thoracic aorta; supplies blood to the muscles of the thoracic cavity and vertebral column|
|Superior phrenic artery||Branch of the thoracic aorta; supplies blood to the superior surface of the diaphragm|
Abdominal Aorta and Major Branches
After crossing through the diaphragm at the aortic hiatus, the thoracic aorta is called the abdominal aorta (see Figure 20.28). This vessel remains to the left of the vertebral column and is embedded in adipose tissue behind the peritoneal cavity. It formally ends at approximately the level of vertebra L4, where it bifurcates to form the common iliac arteries. Before this division, the abdominal aorta gives rise to several important branches. A single celiac trunk (artery) emerges and divides into the left gastric artery to supply blood to the stomach and esophagus, the splenic artery to supply blood to the spleen, and the common hepatic artery, which in turn gives rise to the hepatic artery proper to supply blood to the liver, the right gastric artery to supply blood to the stomach, the cystic artery to supply blood to the gall bladder, and several branches, one to supply blood to the duodenum and another to supply blood to the pancreas. Two additional single vessels arise from the abdominal aorta. These are the superior and inferior mesenteric arteries. The superior mesenteric artery arises approximately 2.5 cm after the celiac trunk and branches into several major vessels that supply blood to the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum), the pancreas, and a majority of the large intestine. The inferior mesenteric artery supplies blood to the distal segment of the large intestine, including the rectum. It arises approximately 5 cm superior to the common iliac arteries.
In addition to these single branches, the abdominal aorta gives rise to several significant paired arteries along the way. These include the inferior phrenic arteries, the adrenal arteries, the renal arteries, the gonadal arteries, and the lumbar arteries. Each inferior phrenic artery is a counterpart of a superior phrenic artery and supplies blood to the inferior surface of the diaphragm. The adrenal artery supplies blood to the adrenal (suprarenal) glands and arises near the superior mesenteric artery. Each renal artery branches approximately 2.5 cm inferior to the superior mesenteric arteries and supplies a kidney. The right renal artery is longer than the left since the aorta lies to the left of the vertebral column and the vessel must travel a greater distance to reach its target. Renal arteries branch repeatedly to supply blood to the kidneys. Each gonadal artery supplies blood to the gonads, or reproductive organs, and is also described as either an ovarian artery or a testicular artery (internal spermatic), depending upon the sex of the individual. An ovarian artery supplies blood to an ovary, uterine (Fallopian) tube, and the uterus, and is located within the suspensory ligament of the uterus. It is considerably shorter than a testicular artery, which ultimately travels outside the body cavity to the testes, forming one component of the spermatic cord. The gonadal arteries arise inferior to the renal arteries and are generally retroperitoneal. The ovarian artery continues to the uterus where it forms an anastomosis with the uterine artery that supplies blood to the uterus. Both the uterine arteries and vaginal arteries, which distribute blood to the vagina, are branches of the internal iliac artery. The four paired lumbar arteries are the counterparts of the intercostal arteries and supply blood to the lumbar region, the abdominal wall, and the spinal cord. In some instances, a fifth pair of lumbar arteries emerges from the median sacral artery.
The aorta divides at approximately the level of vertebra L4 into a left and a right common iliac artery but continues as a small vessel, the median sacral artery, into the sacrum. The common iliac arteries provide blood to the pelvic region and ultimately to the lower limbs. They split into external and internal iliac arteries approximately at the level of the lumbar-sacral articulation. Each internal iliac artery sends branches to the urinary bladder, the walls of the pelvis, the external genitalia, and the medial portion of the femoral region. In females, they also provide blood to the uterus and vagina. The much larger external iliac artery supplies blood to each of the lower limbs. Figure 20.29 shows the distribution of the major branches of the aorta into the thoracic and abdominal regions. Figure 20.30 shows the distribution of the major branches of the common iliac arteries. Table 20.8 summarizes the major branches of the abdominal aorta.
Figure 20.29Major Branches of the Aorta The flow chart summarizes the distribution of the major branches of the aorta into the thoracic and abdominal regions.
Figure 20.30Major Branches of the Iliac Arteries The flow chart summarizes the distribution of the major branches of the common iliac arteries into the pelvis and lower limbs. The left side follows a similar pattern to the right.Vessels of the Abdominal Aorta
|Celiac trunk||Also called the celiac artery; a major branch of the abdominal aorta; gives rise to the left gastric artery, the splenic artery, and the common hepatic artery that forms the hepatic artery to the liver, the right gastric artery to the stomach, and the cystic artery to the gall bladder|
|Left gastric artery||Branch of the celiac trunk; supplies blood to the stomach|
|Splenic artery||Branch of the celiac trunk; supplies blood to the spleen|
|Common hepatic artery||Branch of the celiac trunk that forms the hepatic artery, the right gastric artery, and the cystic artery|
|Hepatic artery proper||Branch of the common hepatic artery; supplies systemic blood to the liver|
|Right gastric artery||Branch of the common hepatic artery; supplies blood to the stomach|
|Cystic artery||Branch of the common hepatic artery; supplies blood to the gall bladder|
|Superior mesenteric artery||Branch of the abdominal aorta; supplies blood to the small intestine (duodenum, jejunum, and ileum), the pancreas, and a majority of the large intestine|
|Inferior mesenteric artery||Branch of the abdominal aorta; supplies blood to the distal segment of the large intestine and rectum|
|Inferior phrenic arteries||Branches of the abdominal aorta; supply blood to the inferior surface of the diaphragm|
|Adrenal artery||Branch of the abdominal aorta; supplies blood to the adrenal (suprarenal) glands|
|Renal artery||Branch of the abdominal aorta; supplies each kidney|
|Gonadal artery||Branch of the abdominal aorta; supplies blood to the gonads or reproductive organs; also described as ovarian arteries or testicular arteries, depending upon the sex of the individual|
|Ovarian artery||Branch of the abdominal aorta; supplies blood to ovary, uterine (Fallopian) tube, and uterus|
|Testicular artery||Branch of the abdominal aorta; ultimately travels outside the body cavity to the testes and forms one component of the spermatic cord|
|Lumbar arteries||Branches of the abdominal aorta; supply blood to the lumbar region, the abdominal wall, and spinal cord|
|Common iliac artery||Branch of the aorta that leads to the internal and external iliac arteries|
|Median sacral artery||Continuation of the aorta into the sacrum|
|Internal iliac artery||Branch from the common iliac arteries; supplies blood to the urinary bladder, walls of the pelvis, external genitalia, and the medial portion of the femoral region; in females, also provides blood to the uterus and vagina|
|External iliac artery||Branch of the common iliac artery that leaves the body cavity and becomes a femoral artery; supplies blood to the lower limbs|
Arteries Serving the Upper Limbs:
As the subclavian artery exits the thorax into the axillary region, it is renamed the axillary artery. Although it does branch and supply blood to the region near the head of the humerus (via the humeral circumflex arteries), the majority of the vessel continues into the upper arm, or brachium, and becomes the brachial artery (Figure 20.31). The brachial artery supplies blood to much of the brachial region and divides at the elbow into several smaller branches, including the deep brachial arteries, which provide blood to the posterior surface of the arm, and the ulnar collateral arteries, which supply blood to the region of the elbow. As the brachial artery approaches the coronoid fossa, it bifurcates into the radial and ulnar arteries, which continue into the forearm, or antebrachium. The radial artery and ulnar artery parallel their namesake bones, giving off smaller branches until they reach the wrist, or carpal region. At this level, they fuse to form the superficial and deep palmar arches that supply blood to the hand, as well as the digital arteries that supply blood to the digits. Figure 20.32 shows the distribution of systemic arteries from the heart into the upper limb. Table 20.9 summarizes the arteries serving the upper limbs.
Figure 20.31Major Arteries Serving the Thorax and Upper Limb The arteries that supply blood to the arms and hands are extensions of the subclavian arteries.
Figure 20.32Major Arteries of the Upper Limb The flow chart summarizes the distribution of the major arteries from the heart into the upper limb.Arteries Serving the Upper Limbs
|Axillary artery||Continuation of the subclavian artery as it penetrates the body wall and enters the axillary region; supplies blood to the region near the head of the humerus (humeral circumflex arteries); the majority of the vessel continues into the brachium and becomes the brachial artery|
|Brachial artery||Continuation of the axillary artery in the brachium; supplies blood to much of the brachial region; gives off several smaller branches that provide blood to the posterior surface of the arm in the region of the elbow; bifurcates into the radial and ulnar arteries at the coronoid fossa|
|Radial artery||Formed at the bifurcation of the brachial artery; parallels the radius; gives off smaller branches until it reaches the carpal region where it fuses with the ulnar artery to form the superficial and deep palmar arches; supplies blood to the lower arm and carpal region|
|Ulnar artery||Formed at the bifurcation of the brachial artery; parallels the ulna; gives off smaller branches until it reaches the carpal region where it fuses with the radial artery to form the superficial and deep palmar arches; supplies blood to the lower arm and carpal region|
|Palmar arches (superficial and deep)||Formed from anastomosis of the radial and ulnar arteries; supply blood to the hand and digital arteries|
|Digital arteries||Formed from the superficial and deep palmar arches; supply blood to the digits|
Arteries Serving the Lower Limbs
The external iliac artery exits the body cavity and enters the femoral region of the lower leg (Figure 20.33). As it passes through the body wall, it is renamed the femoral artery. It gives off several smaller branches as well as the lateral deep femoral artery that in turn gives rise to a lateral circumflex artery. These arteries supply blood to the deep muscles of the thigh as well as ventral and lateral regions of the integument. The femoral artery also gives rise to the genicular artery, which provides blood to the region of the knee. As the femoral artery passes posterior to the knee near the popliteal fossa, it is called the popliteal artery. The popliteal artery branches into the anterior and posterior tibial arteries.
The anterior tibial artery is located between the tibia and fibula, and supplies blood to the muscles and integument of the anterior tibial region. Upon reaching the tarsal region, it becomes the dorsalis pedis artery, which branches repeatedly and provides blood to the tarsal and dorsal regions of the foot. The posterior tibial artery provides blood to the muscles and integument on the posterior surface of the tibial region. The fibular or peroneal artery branches from the posterior tibial artery. It bifurcates and becomes the medial plantar artery and lateral plantar artery, providing blood to the plantar surfaces. There is an anastomosis with the dorsalis pedis artery, and the medial and lateral plantar arteries form two arches called the dorsal arch (also called the arcuate arch) and the plantar arch, which provide blood to the remainder of the foot and toes. Figure 20.34 shows the distribution of the major systemic arteries in the lower limb. Table 20.10 summarizes the major systemic arteries discussed in the text.
Figure 20.33Major Arteries Serving the Lower Limb Major arteries serving the lower limb are shown in anterior and posterior views.
Figure 20.34Systemic Arteries of the Lower Limb The flow chart summarizes the distribution of the systemic arteries from the external iliac artery into the lower limb.Arteries Serving the Lower Limbs
|Femoral artery||Continuation of the external iliac artery after it passes through the body cavity; divides into several smaller branches, the lateral deep femoral artery, and the genicular artery; becomes the popliteal artery as it passes posterior to the knee|
|Deep femoral artery||Branch of the femoral artery; gives rise to the lateral circumflex arteries|
|Lateral circumflex artery||Branch of the deep femoral artery; supplies blood to the deep muscles of the thigh and the ventral and lateral regions of the integument|
|Genicular artery||Branch of the femoral artery; supplies blood to the region of the knee|
|Popliteal artery||Continuation of the femoral artery posterior to the knee; branches into the anterior and posterior tibial arteries|
|Anterior tibial artery||Branches from the popliteal artery; supplies blood to the anterior tibial region; becomes the dorsalis pedis artery|
|Dorsalis pedis artery||Forms from the anterior tibial artery; branches repeatedly to supply blood to the tarsal and dorsal regions of the foot|
|Posterior tibial artery||Branches from the popliteal artery and gives rise to the fibular or peroneal artery; supplies blood to the posterior tibial region|
|Medial plantar artery||Arises from the bifurcation of the posterior tibial arteries; supplies blood to the medial plantar surfaces of the foot|
|Lateral plantar artery||Arises from the bifurcation of the posterior tibial arteries; supplies blood to the lateral plantar surfaces of the foot|
|Dorsal or arcuate arch||Formed from the anastomosis of the dorsalis pedis artery and the medial and plantar arteries; branches supply the distal portions of the foot and digits|
|Plantar arch||Formed from the anastomosis of the dorsalis pedis artery and the medial and plantar arteries; branches supply the distal portions of the foot and digits|
Overview of Systemic Veins:
Systemic veins return blood to the right atrium. Since the blood has already passed through the systemic capillaries, it will be relatively low in oxygen concentration. In many cases, there will be veins draining organs and regions of the body with the same name as the arteries that supplied these regions and the two often parallel one another. This is often described as a “complementary” pattern. However, there is a great deal more variability in the venous circulation than normally occurs in the arteries. For the sake of brevity and clarity, this text will discuss only the most commonly encountered patterns. However, keep this variation in mind when you move from the classroom to clinical practice.
In both the neck and limb regions, there are often both superficial and deeper levels of veins. The deeper veins generally correspond to the complementary arteries. The superficial veins do not normally have direct arterial counterparts, but in addition to returning blood, they also make contributions to the maintenance of body temperature. When the ambient temperature is warm, more blood is diverted to the superficial veins where heat can be more easily dissipated to the environment. In colder weather, there is more constriction of the superficial veins and blood is diverted deeper where the body can retain more of the heat.
The “Voyage of Discovery” analogy and stick drawings mentioned earlier remain valid techniques for the study of systemic veins, but veins present a more difficult challenge because there are numerous anastomoses and multiple branches. It is like following a river with many tributaries and channels, several of which interconnect. Tracing blood flow through arteries follows the current in the direction of blood flow, so that we move from the heart through the large arteries and into the smaller arteries to the capillaries. From the capillaries, we move into the smallest veins and follow the direction of blood flow into larger veins and back to the heart. Figure 20.35 outlines the path of the major systemic veins.