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Deep Cervical Artery
Cardiovascular System

Deep Cervical Artery

Arteria cervicalis profunda

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Quick Facts

Origin: Costocervical trunk.

Course: Travels posteriorly, superior to the first rib, then ascends to the level of second cervical vertebra.

Branches: Spinal branches.

Supplied Structures: Semispinalis capitis and semispinalis cervicis muscles, the spinal cord, and vertebral canal.

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The deep cervical artery originates as one of two terminal branches from the costocervical trunk, the other being the supreme intercostal artery. The artery can also arise directly from the second part of the subclavian artery in 8 to 10% of people (Tubbs, Shoja and Loukas, 2016).


From its origin, the deep cervical artery travels posteriorly through the space between the neck of the first rib and the transverse process of the seventh cervical vertebra, superior to the eighth cervical nerve. It then travels superiorly to the level of the second cervical vertebra, between the semispinalis capitis and semispinalis cervicis muscles.


The deep cervical artery gives off a spinal branch that supplies the vertebral canal and spinal cord at the level of the seventh cervical vertebra. Along its course, the deep cervical artery anastomoses with the deep branch of the descending branch of the occipital artery.

Supplied Structures

The deep cervical artery supplies the semispinalis capitis and cervicis muscles. As it ascends, it also supplies the spinal cord and vertebral canal in the neck.


Tubbs, R. S., Shoja, M. M. and Loukas, M. (2016) Bergman's Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation. Wiley.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Deep Cervical Artery

ScienceDirect image

The accessory vessels comprise branches of the deep or ascending cervical arteries and their accompanying veins.

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