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The circumflex artery (Cx) is one of the two major coronary arteries that arise from the bifurcation of the left main coronary artery (the other branch being the left anterior descending (LAD) artery).
The circumflex artery can be referred to by multiple terms:
- circumflex artery (Cx or CX)
- ramus circumflex artery (RCx or RCX)
- left circumflex artery (LCx or LCX)
Often it is colloquially called the 'circ'.
In angiography and CTCA, the LCx is often described as having proximal and distal segments:
- proximal segment: from the LMCA bifurcation (LCx origin) to the origin of the first marginal artery (M1)
- distal segment: from the M1 origin to the termination
Branches of the circumflex artery supply the lateral and posterolateral walls of the left ventricle.
Most hearts are right dominant where the posterior descending artery (PDA) is supplied by the right coronary artery (RCA). However up to 20% of hearts may be left dominant, where the PDA is supplied by the LAD or LCx or codominant, where a single or duplicated PDA is supplied by branches of both the RCA and LAD/LCx.
For a more in depth discussion of coronary dominance, see the article coronary arterial dominance.
- in a left-dominant circulation, the circumflex artery supplies the inferior interventricular artery, instead of the right coronary artery
- in a co-dominant circulation, both the circumflex artery and RCA supply the inferior interventricular artery (or a duplicated inferior interventricular artery)
- the RCA supplying the inferior interventricular artery and the circumflex artery supplying a large left posterolateral branch has also been considered co-dominant
- the circumflex artery may arise separately off the left coronary cusp from the LAD (i.e. no left main coronary artery)
- the circumflex artery may have an aberrant origin of the right coronary cusp (left circumflex arising from right coronary sinus)
- coronary artery disease: occlusion of the circumflex artery leading to myocardial infarction or sudden cardiac death
- 1. Halpern EJ. Clinical Cardiac CT. Thieme. ISBN:1604063750. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 2. Rasoul S, de Boer MJ, Suryapranata H et-al. Circumflex artery-related acute myocardial infarction: limited ECG abnormalities but poor outcome. (2007) Netherlands heart journal : monthly journal of the Netherlands Society of Cardiology and the Netherlands Heart Foundation. 15 (9): 286-90. Pubmed