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Aortic arch

Other Terms: Aortic arch, Arcus aortae, Arc de l'aorte


The aortic arch now begins. From this point, the aortic arch passes transversely across the chest cavity and obliquely posterior from right to left to the left side of the fourth thoracic vertebra. These parts, with the exception of the portion of the ascending aorta that is covered by pericardium, are contained in the superior mediastinum. It extends to an inch within of the suprasternal notch. The brachiocephalic, left common carotid, and the left subclavian arteries arise from its upper border. It extends to the left and backwards across the superior mediastinum to end at the left side of the lower border of the fourth dorsal vertebra. It is partly covered by the left pleura and lung and to a lesser extent by the right pleura and lung. It is crossed by the left phrenic nerve, the left vagus nerve and its cardiac branches, the left superior cardiac branch of the cervical sympathetic, and the terminal part of the left superior intercostal vein. Behind it lie the trachea, the deep cardiac plexus, the esophagus, the thoracic duct, and the left recurrent nerve. Above it are its three great branches and the left brachiocephalic vein. Below it, in the concavity of the arch, are the divisions of the pulmonary artery, the remains of the ductus arteriosus, the left recurrent nerve, as it winds around the arch, the superficial cardiac plexus, the left bronchus, and some lymph glands.


Arcus aortae


Arc de l'aorte


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