Aortic Arch Anatomy:
The aorta (from Greek meaning “big”) is the largest blood vessel in your body. It carries oxygenated blood from your heart to all parts of your body. It also helps remove waste products from your body. Your heart pumps blood through it. When you have a blockage or tear in one of its arteries, it causes chest pain and shortness of breath.
The aorta is made up of two main segments, the ascending aorta and descending aorta. The ascending aorta contains many smaller blood vessels called capillaries which carry oxygenated blood to various organs in your body such as your brain, lungs, liver and kidneys. These are known as peripheral veins because they supply blood to other parts of your body outside the heart.
The descending aorta contains fewer capillaries than the ascending aorta. It is responsible for carrying blood away from your heart and into other parts of your body. The arteries that branch off from the main artery leading to the heart are known as major veins. They carry blood away from vital organs such as your brain, lungs, liver and kidneys to other locations where it is needed.
Aortic Arch Location:
The aortic arch is located on both the left and right sides of the neck. It supplies blood to the front of your head as well as aiding in supplying blood to the back of your head. In most people, there are four separate branches that form the aortic arch. These are known as:
• The left and right common carotid arteries
They carry oxygenated blood to the front of your head. In addition, they also carry deoxygenated blood to the back of your head where it is then oxygenated by the blood vessels located there.
• The left and right subclavian arteries
They carry oxygenated blood to the back of your head. In addition, they also carry deoxygenated blood to the front of your head where it is then oxygenated by the blood vessels located there.
Aortic Arch Accessory Branches:
In some people, an additional artery called the vertebral artery can form. It can branch off from the base of either the left or right subclavian artery. It then runs upward in the neck to supply blood to the back of the brain. Those who are missing this artery may experience issues with weakness of the face on the side it is missing.
Sources & references used in this article:
Prosthetic replacement of the aortic arch by RB Griepp, EB Stinson, JF Hollingsworth… – The Journal of thoracic …, 1975 – Elsevier
Aortic arch anomalies by PM Weinberg – Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, 2006 – Taylor & Francis
Congenital absence of the aortic arch by GC Celoria, RB Patton – American heart journal, 1959 – Elsevier
Right aortic arch: types and associated cardiac anomalies by L Knight, JE Edwards – Circulation, 1974 – Am Heart Assoc
Atherosclerotic disease of the aortic arch and the risk of ischemic stroke by P Amarenco, A Cohen, C Tzourio… – … England Journal of …, 1994 – Mass Medical Soc
The aortic arch derivatives in the human adult by A Barry – 1951 – deepblue.lib.umich.edu
Tbx1 haploinsufficiency in the DiGeorge syndrome region causes aortic arch defects in mice by EA Lindsay, F Vitelli, H Su, M Morishima, T Huynh… – Nature, 2001 – nature.com
Aortic arch operation: current treatment and results by JS Coselli, S Büket, B Djukanovic – The Annals of thoracic surgery, 1995 – Elsevier