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The circulatory system is extremely important for sustaining life. Its proper functioning is responsible for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all cells, as well as the removal of carbon dioxide and waste products, maintenance of optimum pH, and the mobility of the elements, proteins and cells of the immune system. In developed countries, the two leading causes of death, myocardial infarction and stroke each may directly result from an arterial system that has been slowly and progressively compromised by years of deterioration. (See atherosclerosis).
The arterial system is the higher-pressure portion of the circulatory system. Arterial pressure varies between the peak pressure during heart contraction, called the systolic pressure, and the minimum, or diastolic pressure between contractions, when the heart rests between cycles. This pressure variation within the artery produces the pulse which is observable in any artery, and reflects heart activity.
The outermost layer is known as the tunica externa formerly known as "tunica adventitia" and is composed of connective tissue. Inside this layer is the tunica media, or media, which is made up of smooth muscle cells and elastic tissue. The innermost layer, which is in direct contact with the flow of blood is the tunica intima, commonly called the intima. This layer is made up of mainly endothelial cells. The hollow internal cavity in which the blood flows is called the lumen.
Types of arteries
There are several types of arteries in the body:
The aorta is the root systemic artery. It receives blood directly from the left ventricle of the heart via the aortic valve. As the aorta branches, and these arteries branch in turn, they become successively smaller in diameter, down to the arteriole. The arterioles supply capillaries which in turn empty into venules.
Arterioles and blood pressure
Arterioles have the greatest collective influence on both local blood flow and on overall blood pressure. They are the primary "adjustable nozzles" in the blood system, across which the greatest pressure drop occurs. The combination of heart output (cardiac output) and systemic vascular resistance, which refers to the collective resistance of all of the body's arterioles, are the principal determinants of arterial blood pressure at any given moment.
The capillaries are where all of the important exchanges happen in the circulatory system. The capillaries are a single cell thick to aid fast and easy diffusion of gases, sugars and other nutrients to surrounding tissues.
Functions of capillaries
The pulse pressure, i.e. Systolic vs. Diastolic difference, is determined primarily by the amount of blood ejected by each heart beat, stroke volume, versus the volume and elasticity of the major arteries.
Over time, elevated arterial blood sugar (see Diabetes Mellitus), lipoprotein cholesterol, and pressure, smoking, and other factors are all involved in damaging both the endothelium and walls of the arteries, resulting in atherosclerosis or Diabetes Mellitus.
Among the ancient Greeks, the arteries were considered to be "air holders" that were responsible for the transport of air to the tissues and were connected to the trachea. This theory presumably arose from the fact that the arteries are empty after death: the last beat of the heart pushes the blood through the capillaries and into the veins.
In medieval times, it was recognized that arteries carried a fluid, called "spiritual blood" or "vital spirits", considered to be different from the contents of the veins. This theory went back to Galen. In the late medieval period, the trachea, and ligaments were also called "arteries".
William Harvey described and popularized the modern concept of the circulatory system and the roles of arteries and veins in the 17th century.
Alexis Carrel at the beginning of 20th century first described the technique for vascular suturing and anastomosis and successfully performed many organ transplantations in animals; he thus actually opened the way to modern vascular surgery that was before limited to vessels permanent ligatation.
- Medical dictionary definition of artery from KMLE Medical Dictionary retrieved on 07-04-17
- Oxford English Dictionary.
- Shakespeare, William. Hamlet Complete, Authoritative Text with Biographical and Historical Contexts, Critical History, and Essays from Five Contemporary Critical Perspectives. Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martins Press, 1994. pg. 50.
|Systemic circulation||Heart → Aorta → Arteries → Arterioles → Capillaries → Venules → Veins → Vena cava → Heart|
|Pulmonary circulation||Heart → Pulmonary arteries → Lungs → Pulmonary vein → Heart|
List of arteries of upper limbs
|Axillary||scapular anastomosis - 1st part superior thoracic - 2nd part thoracoacromial (deltoid branch) - lateral thoracic - 3rd part subscapular (circumflex scapular, thoracodorsal) - anterior humeral circumflex - posterior humeral circumflex|
|Brachial||profunda brachii (radial collateral, medial collateral) - ulnar collateral artery (superior, inferior)|
|Radial||forearm: radial recurrent superficial palmar branch - princeps pollicis (radial of index finger)|
|Ulnar||forearm: ulnar recurrent (anterior, posterior) - common interosseous (anterior, posterior, recurrent) deep palmar branch|
|Arches||dorsal carpal arch: dorsal metacarpal (dorsal digital) deep palmar arch: palmar metacarpal|
List of arteries of torso - chest
|right coronary: SA nodal - AV nodal - atrial - right marginal - posterior interventricular|
left coronary: anterior interventricular - left circumflex - left marginal
|Ascending aorta||aortic arch - brachiocephalic (thyreoidea ima) - common carotid|
|Subclavian||internal thoracic: anterior intercostal - thymic - pericardiacophrenic - terminal (musculophrenic, superior epigastric)|
costocervical trunk: highest intercostal (posterior intercostal 1-2) - deep cervical
|visceral: bronchial - esophageal - mediastinal |
parietal: posterior intercostal 3-11 - subcostal - superior phrenic
List of arteries of torso - abdomen
visceral: middle suprarenal –renal (inferior suprarenal, ureteral) – gonadal (testicular ♂/ovarian ♀)
parietal: inferior phrenic (superior suprarenal) – lumbar – median sacral
terminal: common iliac (IIA, EIA)
|middle rectal – obturator (anterior branch, posterior branch) – inferior gluteal (accompanying of ischiadic nerve, crucial anastomosis) vaginal ♀/inferior vesical ♂ perineal (urethral) – posterior scrotal ♂/labial ♀ – bulb of penis ♂/vestibule ♀ – deep artery of the penis ♂ (helicine)/clitoris ♀ – dorsal of the penis ♂/clitoris ♀|
|lateral sacral – superior gluteal|
|EIA||deep circumflex iliac – femoral|
List of arteries of lower limbs
|EI: Femoral||superficial epigastric - superficial iliac circumflex descending genicular (saphenous branch, articular branches)|
genicular: superior genicular (medial, lateral) - middle genicular - inferior genicular (medial, lateral)
|Anterior tibial||tibial recurrent (posterior, anterior) dorsalis pedis: tarsal (medial, lateral)|
|Posterior tibial||circumflex fibular - fibular |
medial plantar - lateral plantar
|Arches||arcuate: dorsal metatarsal/first dorsal metatarsal - deep plantar - dorsal digital arteries |
plantar arch: plantar metatarsal - common plantar digital - proper plantar digital
WikiDoc Research Resources for Artery
|Articles on Artery||Most recent articles on Artery • Most cited articles on Artery • Review articles on Artery • Articles on Artery in N Eng J Med, Lancet, BMJ|
|Media (Slides, Video, Images, MP3) on Artery||Powerpoint slides on Artery • Images of Artery • Photos of Artery • Podcasts & MP3s on Artery • Videos on Artery|
|Evidence Based Medicine Regarding Artery||AND (Cochrane Database Syst Rev[http://worldselectshop.com/?id=9361 Cochrane Collaboration on Artery • Bandolier on Artery • TRIP on Artery|
|Cost Effectiveness of Artery||AND (Cost effectiveness)|
| group6 = Guidelines / Policies / Government Resources (FDA/CDC) Regarding Artery | list6 = US National Guidelines Clearinghouse on Artery • NICE Guidance on Artery • NHS PRODIGY Guidance • FDA on Artery • CDC on Artery
| group7 = Textbook Information on Artery | list7 = Books and Textbook Information on Artery
| group8 = Pharmacology Resources on Artery | list8 = AND (Dose)}} Dosing of Artery • AND (drug interactions)}} Drug interactions with Artery • AND (side effects)}} Side effects of Artery • AND (Allergy)}} Allergic reactions to Artery • AND (overdose)}} Overdose information on Artery • AND (carcinogenicity)}} Carcinogenicity information on Artery • AND (pregnancy)}} Artery in pregnancy • AND (pharmacokinetics)}} Pharmacokinetics of Artery •
| group9 = Genetics, Pharmacogenomics, and Proteinomics of Artery | list9 = AND (pharmacogenomics)}} Genetics of Artery • AND (pharmacogenomics)}} Pharmacogenomics of Artery • AND (proteomics)}} Proteomics of Artery
| group11 = Commentary on Artery | list11 = Blogs on Artery
| group12 = Patient Resources on Artery | list12 = Patient resources on Artery • Discussion groups on Artery • Patient Handouts on Artery • Directions to Hospitals Treating Artery • Risk calculators and risk factors for Artery
| group14 = Continuing Medical Education (CME) Programs on Artery | list14 = CME Programs on Artery
| group17 = Informatics Resources on Artery | list17 = List of terms related to Artery
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