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Sixth Anterior Intercostal Branch of Internal Thoracic Artery (Left)
Cardiovascular System

Sixth Anterior Intercostal Branch of Internal Thoracic Artery (Left)

Ramus intercostalis anterior sextus arteriae thoracicae internae

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Origin

The anterior intercostal branches supplying the upper six intercostal spaces arise from the internal thoracic artery.

Course

As the internal thoracic artery descends in the thorax, it gives off six pairs of anterior intercostal branches. The anterior intercostal branches enter the upper six intercostal spaces, first between the pleura of the lungs and the internal intercostal muscles, then between the internal and innermost intercostal muscles. They extend in the intercostal space to anastomose with the posterior intercostal arteries and their corresponding collateral branches.

Branches

The anterior intercostal branches have no named branches.

Supplied Structures

The anterior intercostal branches supply the intercostal and pectoral muscles, the breast, and skin.

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Artery

ScienceDirect image

When the artery is occluded blood is forced through the collateral vessels, drastically increasing fluid shear stress and triggering an inflammatory response which drives vessel remodeling.

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