Common carotid artery
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Origin and course
Although the left and right common carotid arteries follow the same course through the neck, their origin differs.
On the left, the common carotid arises directly from the aortic arch whereas, on the right, the origin is from the brachiocephalic trunk 10. The left common carotid artery can be thought of as having two distinct parts: thoracic and cervical. Since the right common carotid arises cranially, it only really has a cervical portion.
The cervical section of both common carotids follows a similar course. Each vessel passes obliquely upwards from behind the sternoclavicular joint to the level of the upper border of the thyroid cartilage, at approximately the C4 level 11. In the lower neck, the two common carotid arteries are separated from each other by the trachea. However, as the carotids ascend in the neck, they diverge becoming separated by the thyroid gland, the larynx and pharynx.
Each common carotid is contained within the carotid sheath which is derived from all three layers of the deep cervical fascia. In addition to containing the common carotid artery, the sheath also comprises the internal jugular vein and vagus nerve: the vein lies lateral to the artery, with the nerve in between the two.
vertebral artery arising from the CCA 7
single terminal branch
other branch arising directly from aorta
other branch absent
right common carotid gives rise to thyroidea ima artery
History and etymology
The word carotid in the sense of a major neck artery was first recorded in English in 1667, and ultimately derives from the Greek word κάρος (karos) meaning stupor, as compression of the vessel induced "sleep" 8,9.
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