An artery (plural arteries) (from Greek, Modern ἀρτηρία (artēria), meaning 'windpipe, artery')[1] is a blood vessel that takes blood away from the heart to all parts of the body (tissues, lungs, etc). Most arteries carry oxygenated blood; the two exceptions are the pulmonary and the umbilical arteries, which carry deoxygenated blood to the organs that oxygenate it. The effective arterial blood volume is that extracellular fluid which fills the arterial system.

The arteries are part of the circulatory system, which is responsible for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all cells, as well as the removal of carbon dioxide and waste products, the maintenance of optimum blood pH, and the circulation of proteins and cells of the immune system.

Diagram of an artery
LatinArteria (plural: arteriae)
Anatomical terminology


Blausen 0055 ArteryWallStructure
Microscopic anatomy of an artery.
Cross-section of a human artery

The anatomy of arteries can be separated into gross anatomy, at the macroscopic level, and microanatomy, which must be studied with a microscope. The arterial system of the human body is divided into systemic arteries, carrying blood from the heart to the whole body, and pulmonary arteries, carrying deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs.

The outermost layer of an artery (or vein) is known as the tunica externa, also known as tunica adventitia, and is composed of collagen fibers and elastic tissue - with the largest arteries containing vasa vasorum (small blood vessels that supply large blood vessels)[2]. Most of the layers have a clear boundary between them, however the tunica externa has a boundary that is ill defined. Normally its boundary is considered when it meets or touches the connective tissue.[3] Inside this layer is the tunica media, or media, which is made up of smooth muscle cells, elastic tissue (also called connective tissue proper) and collagen fibres[2]. The innermost layer, which is in direct contact with the flow of blood, is the tunica intima, commonly called the intima. The elastic tissue allows the artery to bend and fit through places in the body. This layer is mainly made up of endothelial cells (and a supporting layer of elastin rich collagen in elastic arteries). The hollow internal cavity in which the blood flows is called the lumen.


Arterial formation begins and ends when endothelial cells begin to express arterial specific genes, such as ephrin B2.[4]


Arterial System en
Arteries form part of the human circulatory system

Arteries form part of the circulatory system. They carry blood that is oxygenated after it has been pumped from the heart. Coronary arteries also aid the heart in pumping blood by sending oxygenated blood to the heart, allowing the muscles to function. Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart to the tissues, except for pulmonary arteries, which carry blood to the lungs for oxygenation (usually veins carry deoxygenated blood to the heart but the pulmonary veins carry oxygenated blood as well).[5] There are two types of unique arteries. The pulmonary artery carries blood from the heart to the lungs, where it receives oxygen. It is unique because the blood in it is not "oxygenated", as it has not yet passed through the lungs. The other unique artery is the umbilical artery, which carries deoxygenated blood from a fetus to its mother.

Arteries have a blood pressure higher than other parts of the circulatory system. The pressure in arteries varies during the cardiac cycle. It is highest when the heart contracts and lowest when heart relaxes. The variation in pressure produces a pulse, which can be felt in different areas of the body, such as the radial pulse. 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.

Arteries have the highest pressure and have narrow lumen diameter. It consists of the three tunics: Tunica media, intima and externa.

Systemic arteries are the arteries (including the peripheral arteries), of the systemic circulation, which is the part of the cardiovascular system that carries oxygenated blood away from the heart, to the body, and returns deoxygenated blood back to the heart. Systemic arteries can be subdivided into two types—muscular and elastic—according to the relative compositions of elastic and muscle tissue in their tunica media as well as their size and the makeup of the internal and external elastic lamina. The larger arteries (>10 mm diameter) are generally elastic and the smaller ones (0.1–10 mm) tend to be muscular. Systemic arteries deliver blood to the arterioles, and then to the capillaries, where nutrients and gases are exchanged.

After travelling from the aorta, blood travels through peripheral arteries into smaller arteries called arterioles, and eventually to capillaries. Arterioles help in regulating blood pressure by the variable contraction of the smooth muscle of their walls, and deliver blood to the capillaries.


The aorta is the root systemic artery (i.e., main artery). In humans, 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 arterioles. The arterioles supply capillaries, which in turn empty into venules. The very first branches off of the aorta are the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle itself. These are followed by the branches off the aortic arch, namely the brachiocephalic artery, the left common carotid, and the left subclavian arteries.


The capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels and are part of the microcirculation. The microvessels have a width of a single cell in diameter to aid in the fast and easy diffusion of gases, sugars and nutrients to surrounding tissues. Capillaries have no smooth muscle surrounding them and have a diameter less than that of red blood cells; a red blood cell is typically 7 micrometers outside diameter, capillaries typically 5 micrometers inside diameter. The red blood cells must distort in order to pass through the capillaries.

These small diameters of the capillaries provide a relatively large surface area for the exchange of gases and nutrients.

Clinical significance

Atherosclerosis diagram
Diagram showing the effects of atherosclerosis on an artery.

Systemic arterial pressures are generated by the forceful contractions of the heart's left ventricle. High blood pressure is a factor in causing arterial damage. Healthy resting arterial pressures are relatively low, mean systemic pressures typically being under 100 mmHg (1.9 psi; 13 kPa) above surrounding atmospheric pressure (about 760 mmHg, 14.7 psi, 101 kPa at sea level). To withstand and adapt to the pressures within, arteries are surrounded by varying thicknesses of smooth muscle which have extensive elastic and inelastic connective tissues. The pulse pressure, being the difference between systolic and diastolic pressure, is determined primarily by the amount of blood ejected by each heart beat, stroke volume, versus the volume and elasticity of the major arteries.

A blood squirt also known as an arterial gush is the effect when an artery is cut due to the higher arterial pressures. Blood is spurted out at a rapid, intermittent rate, that coincides with the heartbeat. The amount of blood loss can be copious, can occur very rapidly, and be life-threatening.[6]

Over time, factors such as elevated arterial blood sugar (particularly as seen in diabetes mellitus), lipoprotein, cholesterol, high blood pressure, stress and smoking, are all implicated in damaging both the endothelium and walls of the arteries, resulting in atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a disease marked by the hardening of arteries. This is caused by an atheroma or plaque in the artery wall and is a build-up of cell debris, that contain lipids, (cholesterol and fatty acids), calcium[7][8] and a variable amount of fibrous connective tissue.

Accidental intraarterial injection either iatrogenically or through recreational drug use can cause symptoms such as intense pain, paresthesia and necrosis. It usually causes permanent damage to the limb; often amputation is necessary.[9]


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 was as a result of finding the arteries of cadavers devoid of blood.

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,[10] and ligaments were also called "arteries".[11]

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 the 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 previously limited to vessels’ permanent ligation.

Theodor Kocher reported that atherosclerosis often developed in patients who had undergone a thyroidectomy and suggested that hypothyroidism favors atherosclerosis, which was, in 1900s autopsies, seen more frequently in iodine-deficient Austrians compared to Icelanders, who are not deficient in iodine. Turner reported the effectiveness of iodide and dried extracts of thyroid in the prevention of atherosclerosis in laboratory rabbits.[12]

See also


  1. ^ ἀρτηρία, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  2. ^ a b Steve, Paxton,; Michelle, Peckham,; Adele, Knibbs (2003). "The Leeds Histology Guide".
  3. ^ Sidawy, Anton (2019). Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, Inc. pp. 34–48. ISBN 9780323427913.
  4. ^ Swift, MR; Weinstein, BM (Mar 13, 2009). "Arterial-venous specification during development". Circulation Research. 104 (5): 576–88. doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.108.188805. PMID 19286613.
  5. ^ Maton, Anthea; Jean Hopkins; Charles William McLaughlin; Susan Johnson; Maryanna Quon Warner; David LaHart; Jill D. Wright (1999). Human Biology and Health. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-981176-1.
  6. ^ "U.S. Navy Standard First Aid Manual, Chapter 3 (online)". Retrieved 3 Feb 2003.
  7. ^ Bertazzo, S. et al. Nano-analytical electron microscopy reveals fundamental insights into human cardiovascular tissue calcification. Nature Materials 12, 576-583 (2013).
  8. ^ Miller, J. D. Cardiovascular calcification: Orbicular origins. Nature Materials 12, 476-478 (2013).
  9. ^ Sen MD, Surjya; Nunes Chini MD Phd, Eduardo; Brown MD, Michael J. (June 2005). "Complications After Unintentional Intra-arterial Injection of Drugs: Risks, Outcomes, and Management Strategies" (Online archive of Volume 80, Issue 6, Pages 783–795, June 2005 Mayo Clinic Proceedings). Mayo Clinic Proceedings. MAYO Clinic. Retrieved 25 August 2014. Unintentional intra-arterial injection of medication, either iatrogenic or self-administered, is a source of considerable morbidity. Normal vascular anatomical proximity, aberrant vasculature, procedurally difficult situations, and medical personnel error all contribute to unintentional cannulation of arteries in an attempt to achieve intravenous access. Delivery of certain medications via arterial access has led to clinically important sequelae, including paresthesias, severe pain, motor dysfunction, compartment syndrome, gangrene, and limb loss. We comprehensively review the current literature, highlighting available information on risk factors, symptoms, pathogenesis, sequelae, and management strategies for unintentional intra-arterial injection. We believe that all physicians and ancillary personnel who administer intravenous therapies should be aware of this serious problem.
  10. ^ Oxford English Dictionary.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Bruger, Maurice; Rosenkrantz, J. A. (1942-03-01). "Arteriosclerosis and Hypothyroidism: Observations on Their Possible Interrelationship". The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2 (3): 176–180. doi:10.1210/jcem-2-3-176. ISSN 0368-1610.

External links


An aneurysm is an outward bulging, likened to a bubble or balloon, caused by a localized, abnormal, weak spot on a blood vessel wall. Aneurysms are a result of a weakened blood vessel wall, and may be a result of a hereditary condition or an acquired disease. Aneurysms can also be a nidus (starting point) for clot formation (thrombosis) and embolization. The word is from Greek: ἀνεύρυσμα, aneurysma, "dilation", from ἀνευρύνειν, aneurynein, "to dilate". As an aneurysm increases in size, the risk of rupture increases, leading to uncontrolled bleeding. Although they may occur in any blood vessel, particularly lethal examples include aneurysms of the Circle of Willis in the brain, aortic aneurysms affecting the thoracic aorta, and abdominal aortic aneurysms. Aneurysms can arise in the heart itself following a heart attack, including both ventricular and atrial septal aneurysms.


Angioplasty, also known as balloon angioplasty and percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA), is a minimally invasive, endovascular procedure to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins, typically to treat arterial atherosclerosis. A deflated balloon attached to a catheter (a balloon catheter) is passed over a guide-wire into the narrowed vessel and then inflated to a fixed size. The balloon forces expansion of the blood vessel and the surrounding muscular wall, allowing an improved blood flow. A stent may be inserted at the time of ballooning to ensure the vessel remains open, and the balloon is then deflated and withdrawn. Angioplasty has come to include all manner of vascular interventions that are typically performed percutaneously.

The word is composed of the combining forms of the Greek words ἀγγεῖον angeîon "vessel" or "cavity" (of the human body) and πλάσσω plássō "form" or "mould".


The aorta ( ay-OR-tə) is the main and largest artery in the human body, originating from the left ventricle of the heart and extending down to the abdomen, where it splits into two smaller arteries (the common iliac arteries). The aorta distributes oxygenated blood to all parts of the body through the systemic circulation.


Atherosclerosis is a disease in which the inside of an artery narrows due to the build up of plaque. Initially, there are generally no symptoms. When severe, it can result in coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, or kidney problems, depending on which arteries are affected. Symptoms, if they occur, generally do not begin until middle age.The exact cause is not known. Risk factors include abnormal cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, family history, and an unhealthy diet. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood. The narrowing of arteries limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to parts of the body. Diagnosis is based upon a physical exam, electrocardiogram, and exercise stress test, among others.Prevention is generally by eating a healthy diet, exercising, not smoking, and maintaining a normal weight. Treatment of established disease may include medications to lower cholesterol such as statins, blood pressure medication, or medications that decrease clotting, such as aspirin. A number of procedures may also be carried out such as percutaneous coronary intervention, coronary artery bypass graft, or carotid endarterectomy.Atherosclerosis generally starts when a person is young and worsens with age. Almost all people are affected to some degree by the age of 65. It is the number one cause of death and disability in the developed world. Though it was first described in 1575, there is evidence that the condition occurred in people more than 5,000 years ago.

Circulatory system

The circulatory system, also called the cardiovascular system or the vascular system, is an organ system that permits blood to circulate and transport nutrients (such as amino acids and electrolytes), oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones, and blood cells to and from the cells in the body to provide nourishment and help in fighting diseases, stabilize temperature and pH, and maintain homeostasis.

The circulatory system includes the lymphatic system, which circulates lymph. The passage of lymph for example takes much longer than that of blood. Blood is a fluid consisting of plasma, red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets that is circulated by the heart through the vertebrate vascular system, carrying oxygen and nutrients to and waste materials away from all body tissues. Lymph is essentially recycled excess blood plasma after it has been filtered from the interstitial fluid (between cells) and returned to the lymphatic system. The cardiovascular (from Latin words meaning "heart" and "vessel") system comprises the blood, heart, and blood vessels. The lymph, lymph nodes, and lymph vessels form the lymphatic system, which returns filtered blood plasma from the interstitial fluid (between cells) as lymph.

The circulatory system of the blood is seen as having two components, a systemic circulation and a pulmonary circulation.While humans, as well as other vertebrates, have a closed cardiovascular system (meaning that the blood never leaves the network of arteries, veins and capillaries), some invertebrate groups have an open cardiovascular system. The lymphatic system, on the other hand, is an open system providing an accessory route for excess interstitial fluid to be returned to the blood. The more primitive, diploblastic animal phyla lack circulatory systems.

Many diseases affect the circulatory system. This includes cardiovascular disease, affecting the cardiovascular system, and lymphatic disease affecting the lymphatic system. Cardiologists are medical professionals which specialise in the heart, and cardiothoracic surgeons specialise in operating on the heart and its surrounding areas. Vascular surgeons focus on other parts of the circulatory system.

Common carotid artery

In anatomy, the left and right common carotid arteries (carotids) (English: ) are arteries that supply the head and neck with oxygenated blood; they divide in the neck to form the external and internal carotid arteries.

Coronary arteries

The coronary arteries are the arteries of the coronary circulation, which transports blood into and out of the cardiac muscle. They are mainly composed of the left and right coronary arteries, both of which give off branches. Coronary arteries can also be categorized as epicardial (above the epicardium) and microvascular (close to the endocardium).The left coronary artery arises from the aorta above the left cusp of the aortic valve and feeds blood to the left side of the heart. It branches into two arteries and sometimes a third branch is formed at the fork, known as a ramus or intermediate artery.The right coronary artery originates from above the right cusp of the aortic valve. It travels down the right coronary sulcus, towards the crux of the heart.

There is also the conus artery, which is only present in about 45 per cent of the human population, and which may provide collateral blood flow to the heart when the left anterior descending artery is occluded.

Coronary artery bypass surgery

Coronary artery bypass surgery, also known as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG, pronounced "cabbage") surgery, and colloquially heart bypass or bypass surgery, is a surgical procedure to restore normal blood flow to an obstructed coronary artery. A normal coronary artery transports blood to and from the heart muscle itself, not through the main circulatory system.

There are two main approaches. In one, the left internal thoracic artery, LITA (also called left internal mammary artery, LIMA) is diverted to the left anterior descending branch of the left coronary artery. In this method, the artery is "pedicled" which means it is not detached from the origin. In the other, a great saphenous vein is removed from a leg; one end is attached to the aorta or one of its major branches, and the other end is attached to the obstructed artery immediately after the obstruction to restore blood flow.

CABG is performed to relieve angina unsatisfactorily controlled by maximum tolerated anti-ischemic medication, prevent or relieve left ventricular dysfunction, and/or reduce the risk of death. CABG does not prevent myocardial infarction (heart attack). This surgery is usually performed with the heart stopped, necessitating the usage of cardiopulmonary bypass. However, two alternative techniques are also available, allowing CABG to be performed on a beating heart either without using the cardiopulmonary bypass, a procedure referred to as "off-pump" surgery, or performing beating surgery using partial assistance of the cardiopulmonary bypass, a procedure referred to as "on-pump beating" surgery. The latter procedure offers the advantages of the on-pump stopped and off-pump while minimizing their respective side-effects.

CABG is often indicated when coronary arteries have a 50 to 99 percent obstruction. The obstruction being bypassed is typically due to arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, or both. Arteriosclerosis is characterized by thickening, loss of elasticity, and calcification of the arterial wall, most often resulting in a generalized narrowing in the affected coronary artery. Atherosclerosis is characterized by yellowish plaques of cholesterol, lipids, and cellular debris deposited into the inner layer of the wall of a large or medium-sized coronary artery, most often resulting in a partial obstruction in the affected artery. Either condition can limit blood flow if it causes a cross-sectional narrowing of at least 50 percent.

Coronary artery disease

Coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as ischemic heart disease (IHD), involves the reduction of blood flow to the heart muscle due to build-up of plaque in the arteries of the heart. It is the most common of the cardiovascular diseases. Types include stable angina, unstable angina, myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death. A common symptom is chest pain or discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck, or jaw. Occasionally it may feel like heartburn. Usually symptoms occur with exercise or emotional stress, last less than a few minutes, and improve with rest. Shortness of breath may also occur and sometimes no symptoms are present. In many cases, the first sign is a heart attack. Other complications include heart failure or an abnormal heartbeat.Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood cholesterol, poor diet, depression, and excessive alcohol. A number of tests may help with diagnoses including: electrocardiogram, cardiac stress testing, coronary computed tomographic angiography, and coronary angiogram, among others.Ways to reduce CAD risk include eating a healthy diet, regularly exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking. Medications for diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure are sometimes used. There is limited evidence for screening people who are at low risk and do not have symptoms. Treatment involves the same measures as prevention. Additional medications such as antiplatelets (including aspirin), beta blockers, or nitroglycerin may be recommended. Procedures such as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) or coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) may be used in severe disease. In those with stable CAD it is unclear if PCI or CABG in addition to the other treatments improves life expectancy or decreases heart attack risk.In 2015, CAD affected 110 million people and resulted in 8.9 million deaths. It makes up 15.6% of all deaths, making it the most common cause of death globally. The risk of death from CAD for a given age decreased between 1980 and 2010, especially in developed countries. The number of cases of CAD for a given age also decreased between 1990 and 2010. In the United States in 2010, about 20% of those over 65 had CAD, while it was present in 7% of those 45 to 64, and 1.3% of those 18 to 45; rates were higher among men than women of a given age.

Coronary circulation

Coronary circulation is the circulation of blood in the blood vessels that supply the heart muscle (myocardium).

Coronary arteries supply oxygenated blood to the heart muscle, and cardiac veins drain away the blood once it has been deoxygenated.

Because the rest of the body, and most especially the brain, needs a steady supply of oxygenated blood that is free of all but the slightest interruptions, the heart works constantly and sometimes works quite hard. Therefore its circulation is of major importance not only to its own tissues but to the entire body and even the level of consciousness of the brain from moment to moment.

Interruptions of coronary circulation quickly cause heart attacks (myocardial infarctions), in which the heart muscle is damaged by oxygen starvation. Such interruptions are usually caused by ischemic heart disease (coronary artery disease) and sometimes by embolism from other causes like obstruction in blood flow through vessels.

Femoral artery

The femoral artery is a large artery in the thigh and the main arterial supply to the thigh and leg. It enters the thigh from behind the inguinal ligament as the continuation of the external iliac artery.

Here, it lies midway between the anterior superior iliac spine and the symphysis pubis. The femoral artery gives off the deep femoral artery or profunda femoris artery and descends along the anteromedial part of the thigh in the femoral triangle. It enters and passes through the adductor canal, and becomes the popliteal artery as it passes through the adductor hiatus in the adductor magnus near the junction of the middle and distal thirds of the thigh.

Internal carotid artery

The internal carotid artery is a major paired artery, one on each side of the head and neck, in human anatomy. They arise from the common carotid arteries where these bifurcate into the internal and external carotid arteries at cervical vertebral level 3 or 4; the internal carotid artery supplies the brain, while the external carotid nourishes other portions of the head, such as face, scalp, skull, and meninges.

Intracranial aneurysm

Intracranial aneurysm, also known as brain aneurysm, is a cerebrovascular disorder in which weakness in the wall of a cerebral artery or vein causes a localized dilation or ballooning of the blood vessel.

Aneurysms in the posterior circulation (basilar artery, vertebral arteries and posterior communicating artery) have a higher risk of rupture. Basilar artery aneurysms represent only 3%-5% of all intracranial aneurysms but are the most common aneurysms in the posterior circulation.

List of skeletal muscles of the human body

This is a table of skeletal muscles of the human anatomy.

There are over 600 skeletal muscles within the typical human body. Almost every muscle constitutes one part of a pair of identical bilateral muscles, found on both sides, resulting in approximately 320 pairs of muscles, as presented

in this article. Nevertheless, the exact number is difficult to define because different sources group muscles differently, e.g. regarding what is defined as different parts of a single muscle or as several muscles.

The muscles of the human body can be categorized into a number of groups which include muscles relating to the head and neck, muscles of the torso or trunk, muscles of the upper limbs, and muscles of the lower limbs.

The action refers to the action of each muscle from the standard anatomical position. In other positions, other actions may be performed.

These muscles are described using anatomical terminology.

Myocardial infarction

Myocardial infarction (MI), commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow decreases or stops to a part of the heart, causing damage to the heart muscle. The most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort which may travel into the shoulder, arm, back, neck, or jaw. Often it occurs in the center or left side of the chest and lasts for more than a few minutes. The discomfort may occasionally feel like heartburn. Other symptoms may include shortness of breath, nausea, feeling faint, a cold sweat, or feeling tired. About 30% of people have atypical symptoms. Women more often present without chest pain and instead have neck pain, arm pain, or feel tired. Among those over 75 years old, about 5% have had an MI with little or no history of symptoms. An MI may cause heart failure, an irregular heartbeat, cardiogenic shock, or cardiac arrest.Most MIs occur due to coronary artery disease. Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood cholesterol, poor diet, and excessive alcohol intake, among others. The complete blockage of a coronary artery caused by a rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque is usually the underlying mechanism of an MI. MIs are less commonly caused by coronary artery spasms, which may be due to cocaine, significant emotional stress, and extreme cold, among others. A number of tests are useful to help with diagnosis, including electrocardiograms (ECGs), blood tests, and coronary angiography. An ECG, which is a recording of the heart's electrical activity, may confirm an ST elevation MI (STEMI) if ST elevation is present. Commonly used blood tests include troponin and less often creatine kinase MB.Treatment of an MI is time-critical. Aspirin is an appropriate immediate treatment for a suspected MI. Nitroglycerin or opioids may be used to help with chest pain; however, they do not improve overall outcomes. Supplemental oxygen is recommended in those with low oxygen levels or shortness of breath. In a STEMI, treatments attempt to restore blood flow to the heart, and include percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), where the arteries are pushed open and may be stented, or thrombolysis, where the blockage is removed using medications. People who have a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) are often managed with the blood thinner heparin, with the additional use of PCI in those at high risk. In people with blockages of multiple coronary arteries and diabetes, coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) may be recommended rather than angioplasty. After an MI, lifestyle modifications, along with long term treatment with aspirin, beta blockers, and statins, are typically recommended.Worldwide, about 15.9 million myocardial infarctions occurred in 2015. More than 3 million people had an ST elevation MI and more than 4 million had an NSTEMI. STEMIs occur about twice as often in men as women. About one million people have an MI each year in the United States. In the developed world the risk of death in those who have had an STEMI is about 10%. Rates of MI for a given age have decreased globally between 1990 and 2010. In 2011, a MI was one of the top five most expensive conditions during inpatient hospitalizations in the US, with a cost of about $11.5 billion for 612,000 hospital stays.

Peripheral artery disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is an abnormal narrowing of arteries other than those that supply the heart or brain. When narrowing occurs in the heart, it is called coronary artery disease, and in the brain, it is called cerebrovascular disease. Peripheral artery disease most commonly affects the legs, but other arteries may also be involved. The classic symptom is leg pain when walking which resolves with rest, known as intermittent claudication. Other symptoms include skin ulcers, bluish skin, cold skin, or abnormal nail and hair growth in the affected leg. Complications may include an infection or tissue death which may require amputation; coronary artery disease, or stroke. Up to 50% of people with PAD do not have symptoms.The greatest risk factor for PAD is cigarette smoking. Other risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney problems, and high blood cholesterol. The most common underlying mechanism of peripheral artery disease is atherosclerosis, especially in individuals over 40 years old. Other mechanisms include artery spasm, blood clots, trauma, fibromuscular dysplasia, and vasculitis. PAD is typically diagnosed by finding an ankle-brachial index (ABI) less than 0.90, which is the systolic blood pressure at the ankle divided by the systolic blood pressure of the arm. Duplex ultrasonography and angiography may also be used. Angiography is more accurate and allows for treatment at the same time; however, it is associated with greater risks.It is unclear if screening for peripheral artery disease in people without symptoms is useful as it has not been properly studied. In those with intermittent claudication from PAD, stopping smoking and supervised exercise therapy improve outcomes. Medications, including statins, ACE inhibitors, and cilostazol may also help. Aspirin does not appear to help those with mild disease but is usually recommended in those with more significant disease due to the increased risk of heart attacks. Anticoagulants such as warfarin are not typically of benefit. Procedures used to treat the disease include bypass grafting, angioplasty, and atherectomy.In 2015, about 155 million people had PAD worldwide. It becomes more common with age. In the developed world, it affects about 5.3% of 45- to 50-year-olds and 18.6% of 85- to 90-year-olds. In the developing world, it affects 4.6% of people between the ages of 45 and 50 and 15% of people between the ages of 85 and 90. PAD in the developed world is equally common among men and women, though in the developing world, women are more commonly affected. In 2015 PAD resulted in about 52,500 deaths, which is an increase from the 16,000 deaths in 1990.

Pulmonary artery

A pulmonary artery is an artery in the pulmonary circulation that carries deoxygenated blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs. The largest pulmonary artery is the main pulmonary artery or pulmonary trunk from the heart, and the smallest ones are the arterioles, which lead to the capillaries that surround the pulmonary alveoli.


In medicine, a pulse represents the tactile arterial palpation of the heartbeat by trained fingertips. The pulse may be palpated in any place that allows an artery to be compressed near the surface of the body, such as at the neck (carotid artery), wrist (radial artery), at the groin (femoral artery), behind the knee (popliteal artery), near the ankle joint (posterior tibial artery), and on foot (dorsalis pedis artery). Pulse (or the count of arterial pulse per minute) is equivalent to measuring the heart rate. The heart rate can also be measured by listening to the heart beat by auscultation, traditionally using a stethoscope and counting it for a minute. The radial pulse is commonly measured using three fingers. This has a reason: the finger closest to the heart is used to occlude the pulse pressure, the middle finger is used get a crude estimate of the blood pressure, and the finger most distal to the heart (usually the ring finger) is used to nullify the effect of the ulnar pulse as the two arteries are connected via the palmar arches (superficial and deep).

The study of the pulse is known as sphygmology.

Subclavian artery

In human anatomy, the subclavian arteries are paired major arteries of the upper thorax, below the clavicle. They receive blood from the aortic arch. The left subclavian artery supplies blood to the left arm and the right subclavian artery supplies blood to the right arm, with some branches supplying the head and thorax. On the left side of the body, the subclavian comes directly off the aortic arch, while on the right side it arises from the relatively short brachiocephalic artery when it bifurcates into the subclavian and the right common carotid artery.

The usual branches of the subclavian on both sides of the body are the vertebral artery, the internal thoracic artery, the thyrocervical trunk, the costocervical trunk and the dorsal scapular artery, which may branch off the transverse cervical artery which is a branch of the thyrocervical trunk. The subclavian becomes the axillary artery at the lateral border of the first rib.

Circulatory system
Nervous system
Integumentary system
Immune system
Respiratory system
Digestive system
Urinary system
Reproductive system
Endocrine system
Arteries and veins
Circulatory system

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