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Right common carotid Left common carotid artery

Left subclavian artery
Coeliac artery
~"' ---++-----Left common iliac artery
'~~-+-----'c-----left internal iliac artery
external iliac artery
Figure 5.29 The aorta and its main branches.
embedded in fascia, called the carotid sheath. At the level of
the upper border of the thyroid cartilage they divide into:
external carotid artery.
internal carotid artery.
The carotid sinuses are slight dilatations at the point of
division bifurcation! of the common carotid arteries into
their internal and external branches. "he #alls of the
sinuses are thin and contain numerous nerve endings of
the glossopharyngeal nerves. "hese nerve endings, or
baroreceptors, are stimulated by changes in blood pressure
in the carotid sinuses. "he resultant nerve impulses initi-
ate reflex ad$ustments of blood pressure through the
vasomotor centre in the medulla oblongata p. %&!.
The carotid bodies are t#o small groups of specialised
cells, called chemoreceptors, one lying in close association
#ith each common carotid artery at its bifurcation. "hey
are supplied by the glossopharyngeal nerves and their
cells are stimulated by changes in the carbon dioxide and
oxygen content of blood. "he resultant nerve impulses
initiate reflex ad$ustments of respiration through the res-
piratory centre in the medulla oblongata.
External carotid artery 'ig. (.)*!. "his artery sup-
plies the superficial tissues of the head and nec+, via a
number of branches.
and runs up#ards, bac+#ards and to the left in front of
the trachea. t then passes do#n#ards to the left of the
trachea and is continuous #ith the descending aorta.
"hree branches are given off from
'ig. (.),!:
its upper aspect

brachiocephalic artery or trun+

left common carotid artery
left subclavian artery.
The brachiocephalic artery is about - to ( cm long and
and to the right. At passes obli.uely up#ards, bac+#ards
the level of the sternoclavicular $oint it divides into the
right common carotid artery and the right subclavian artery.
/irculation of blood to the head and nec+
Arterial supply
"he paired arteries supplying the head and nec+ are the
common carotid arteries and the vertebral arteries 'ig. (.)*!.
Carotid arteries. "he right common carotid artery is a
branch of the brachiocephalic artery. "he left common
carotid artery arises directly from the arch of the aorta. "hey
pass up#ards on either side of the nec+ and have the same
distribution on each side. "he common carotid arteries are