Aortic arch

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Aortic arch with branches, schematic

The aortic arch ( Arcus aortae ) is a section of the main artery ( aorta ) in close proximity to its origin from the heart . It lies outside the pericardial cavity in the mediastinum and merges into the vertically descending part of the aorta (descending aorta) at the level of the fourth thoracic vertebra . The main vascular trunks for the head, neck and upper extremities arise from the aortic arch.


The aortic arch arises from the left fourth branchial arch artery . The branches of the aortic arch vary within mammals , which is due to the complex remodeling processes during embryogenesis .

In humans, the left carotid artery (left common carotid artery ) and the left subclavian artery (left subclavian artery ) arise from it . The corresponding vessels on the right side arise from a common trunk, the brachiocephalic trunk . In pigs and predators, on the other hand, the left carotid artery also arises from the brachiocephalic trunk and only the left subclavian artery emerges separately from the aortic arch. In horses and ruminants, all four vascular trunks arise from the brachiocephalic trunk.


Malformations of the aortic arch are the coarctation of the aorta (see also Shone complex ) and the interrupted aortic arch .

The "riding aorta" is one of the congenital anomalies of position, which arises from the heart , shifted to the right, directly above the ventricular septal defect . If it is shifted further to the right, one speaks of an "arcus aortae dexter".

Further anomalies are the "double aortic arch" (Arcus aortae duplex), the Arteria lusoria , the "Arcus aortae circumflexus" running behind the esophagus to the opposite side.

The closure of the branches of the aortic arch leads to aortic arch syndrome . Vascular inflammation in the area of ​​the aortic arch can be the cause of polymyalgia rheumatica . About 60% of cases of aortic dissection are located in the aortic arch.


  • Uwe Gille: Cardiovascular and immune system, Angiologia. In: Franz-Viktor Salomon, Hans Geyer, Uwe Gille (Ed.): Anatomy for veterinary medicine. 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Enke, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8304-1075-1 , pp. 404-463.
  • S2 guideline : Stenoses close to the outlet and occlusions of the aortic arch branches , AWMF register number 004/004 (online: full text ; PDF; 808 kB), status 10/2008

Individual evidence

  1. Entry on Reitende_Aorta in Flexikon , a Wiki of the DocCheck company
  2. ^ Pschyrembel online