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location: medial upper arm
main branches: profunda brachii
The profunda brachii is the first and main branch of the brachial artery. It arises above the midpoint of the upper arm on the medial aspect of the vessel. As it courses posteriorly, it sweeps posterolaterally to the humerus to end up lateral and posterior to the elbow.
Distal to the profunda, the brachial artery gives off nutrient vessels to the humerus as it courses medially in the upper arm.
As it approaches the elbow, it gives off the superior and inferior ulnar collateral arteries which forms part of the arterial anastomosis of the elbow . Both ulnar collateral arteries arise from the medial aspect of the brachial artery and course distally towards the medial aspect of the elbow.
The brachial artery supplies blood to the muscles of the upper arm by its branches and to the forearm and hand, by its continuation as the radial and ulnar arteries.
duplicated for all or part of its course in 20% of the population 3
superficial brachial artery - courses anteriorly (rather than posteriorly) to the median nerve 4
accessory brachial artery - duplication that unites before the cubital fossa 4
bifurcation in proximal arm giving rise to a superficial radial artery 5
The vessel can be well visualized using ultrasound and MRI. It is visualized in radial approaches for angiography and may be used as vascular access for some procedures. It can be well depicted using CT angiography, although indications for such imaging is rare. Modalities used to assess the brachial artery include:
US doppler upper limb
MRI shoulder, MRI brachial plexus, MRA upper limb
CTA upper limb
upper limb angiogram, radial access for coronary angiogram
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