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Anterior Spinal Artery (Cervical)
Cardiovascular System

Anterior Spinal Artery (Cervical)

Arteria spinalis anterior

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Quick Facts

Origin: Union of anterior spinal branches of vertebral artery.

Course: Descends in median fissure of spinal cord.

Branches: Central branches and pial plexus.

Supplied Structures: Anterior region of spinal cord.

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The singular anterior spinal artery arises from the union of the anterior spinal branches of vertebral artery.


The anterior spinal artery descends in median fissure of the spinal cord, within the pia mater. It extends the length of the spinal cord.


The anterior spinal artery gives rise to numerous central branches that enter the median fissure of the spinal cord. Up to eight central branches per centimeter of the anterior spinal artery were observed (Turnbull, Brieg and Hassler, 1966).

The anterior spinal artery receives several contributions from six to ten feeder arteries, the anterior segmental medullary arteries, throughout its length.

The anterior spinal artery also contributes to the pial plexus.

Supplied Structures

The anterior spinal artery contributes to the arterial supply to the anterior two thirds of the cross-sectional area of the spinal cord (Jones et al., 2013).

List of Clinical Correlates

- Anterior spinal artery syndrome

- Spinal cord ischemia


Jones, H. R., Burns, T., Aminoff, M. J. and Pomeroy, S. (2013) The Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations: Nervous System, Volume 7, Part 1 - Brain e-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences.

Turnbull, I. M., Brieg, A. and Hassler, O. (1966) 'Blood supply of cervical spinal cord in man. A microangiographic cadaver study', J Neurosurg, 24(6), pp. 951-65.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Anterior Spinal Artery

ScienceDirect image

The anterior spinal artery is a longitudinal artery that passes inferiorly along the anterior aspect of the medulla through the foramen magnum.

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