Main arteries

The aorta is the main artery of the systemic circuit which carries oxygenated blood around the body. It is divided into three main branches which subdivide into branches to supply the whole of the body:

• The ascending part has branches which supply the head, neck and the top of the arms.

• The descending thoracic part of the aorta has branches which supply organs of the thorax.

• The descending abdominal part has branches which supply the legs and organs of the digestive, renal and reproductive systems.

The names of most major arteries are derived from the anatomical structures they serve such as the femoral artery which is found close to the femur. Arteries generally lie deeply seated. They are found on both sides of the body and are identified as either right or left.

Fig 5.13 Main veins

Blood vessels of the head and neck 161

Blood vessels of the head and neck 161

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