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Arteries of arch of Aorta

Author: RxPG, Posted on Friday, October 22 @ 09:43:37 IST by RxPG  

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The commonest variation in the arteries arising from the arch of aorta is:
1.Absence of brachiocephalic trunk.
2.Left vertebral artery arising from the arch.
3.Left common carotid artery arising from brachiocephalic trunk.
4.Presence of retro-esophageal subclavian artery.

3.Left common carotid artery arising from brachiocephalic trunk.

Gray's Anatomy 38th Edition Page 1513

Quality :

Status :
High Yield Topic

Grays Anatomy


Normally the following Branches of Arch of Aorta spring from the vessel's convex aspect:

  1. The brachiocephalic trunk,

  2. Left common carotid and

  3. Left subclavian arteries .


They may branch from

  • The beginning of the arch or

  • The upper part of the ascending aorta;

  • The distance between these origins varies, the most frequent being approximation of the left common carotid artery to the brachiocephalic trunk (Wright 1969).

Primary branches may be reduced to one, more commonly two,

  • the left common carotid arising from the brachiocephalic trunk (7%), or

  • (more rarely) the left common carotid and subclavian arteries arising from a left brachiocephalic or

Primary branches may be increased

  • Right common carotid and subclavian arising separately, in which case the latter more often branches from the left end of the arch and passes behind the oesophagus

  • The left vertebral artery may arise between the left common carotid and the subclavian.

  • Very rarely, external and internal carotid arteries arise separately, the common carotid being absent on one or both sides; or

  • Both carotids and one or both Vertebrals may be separate branches.

When a 'right aorta' occurs, the arrangement of its three branches is reversed. The common carotids may have a single trunk, the subclavians separate, the right arising from the left end of the arch. Other arteries may branch from it, most commonly one or both bronchial arteries and the arteria thyroidea ima. An analysis of variation in branches from 1000 aortic arches (Anson 1963) showed

  • in 65% the usual pattern;

  • in 27% a left common carotid shared the brachiocephalic trunk (contrast percentage quoted above);

  • in 2.5% the four large arteries branched separately.

  • The remaining 5% showed a great variety of patterns, the commonest (1.2%) being symmetrical right and left brachiocephalic trunks.


1. Rare

2. This is a rare chance

3. This has 7 % incidence in one study and 27 % in another study and undoubtedly is the most common variation

4. This is a rare occurence

This is a Question directly from Grays Anatomy and only those who have read for it can Answer with confidence.

Arteries and Branches is a high yield topic in Anatomy Go through the High Yield Topics. Other High yield topics in Anatomy would include Veins and Tributaries, nerves and branches, sensory supply of a nerve, Origin, Insertion, Action and Nerve Supply of Muscles and Dermatomes
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