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Subclavian Artery
Cardiovascular System

Subclavian Artery

Arteria subclavia

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Quick Facts

Origin: Aortic arch (left) or brachiocephalic trunk (right).

Course: The left subclavian artery ascends in the superior mediastinum and enters the neck. The right subclavian artery arises in the neck. Both right and left components course laterally in the neck and over the superior surface of the first rib.

Branches: Vertebral, internal thoracic, and dorsal scapular arteries, costocervical and thyrocervical trunks.

Supplied Structures: Thoracic wall, neck, spinal cord, brain, meninges, and upper limb.

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Origin

The left subclavian artery is the third branch arising from the aortic arch posterior to the left common carotid artery. The right subclavian artery is a terminal branch of the brachiocephalic trunk.

Course

For descriptive purposes, the subclavian arteries are divides into three parts, depends on their relationship to the scalenus anterior muscle.

The first part of the left subclavian artery arises from the aortic arch, it contains both thoracic and cervical parts. It ascends in the superior mediastinum until it reaches the level of the left sternoclavicular joint. Here, it enters the neck and arches laterally to the medial border of the scalenus anterior muscle.

The right subclavian artery arises from the brachiocephalic trunk at the level of the right sternoclavicular joint; thus, it has only cervical parts. Similar to its left counterpart, the right subclavian artery arches laterally to the medial border of scalenus anterior muscle.

The second part of the subclavian arteries lies posterior to the scalenus anterior muscle. It is the shortest and the highest part of the artery.

The third part of the subclavian arteries extends from the lateral border of scalenus anterior muscle to the outer border of the first rib, where it becomes the axillary artery. A small groove, the groove for the subclavian artery, can be identified on the superior surface of the first rib.

Branches

The subclavian artery gives rise to several branches, which originate from the three divisions of the vessel.

- The first part of subclavian artery gives rise to the vertebral and internal thoracic arteries, and thyrocervical trunk. On the left, the costocervical trunk arises from the first part of the subclavian artery.

- The second part of the right subclavian artery gives rise to the costocervical trunk.

- The third part of the subclavian arteries give rise to the dorsal scapular artery; however, it may arise from the second part.

Supplied Structures

The subclavian arteries provide arterial supply to the thoracic wall, neck, spinal cord, brain, meninges, and upper limb.

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The subclavian arteries are defined as the segment of vessel between the aortic arch or brachiocephalic artery bifurcation and the lateral border of the 1st rib.

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Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy