Friday, May 13, 2011

Esophageal Arteries

Esophageal arteries are a group of arteries which carry oxygen-rich blood from the aorta, supplying the esophagus. They come off from different sources, which in turn have their origin in the aorta artery. 1) The four esophageal arteries which arise from the front of the aorta, and pass obliquely downward to the esophagus, forming a chain of anastomoses along that tube. 2) The esophageal branches of inferior thyroid artery that anastomose with the esophageal branches of the aorta. 3) The esophageal branches of left gastric artery.

The pharynx, esophagus and trachea are usually supplied by several very fine arterial twigs from the terminal branches of the inferior thyroid artery. Although these arterial branches are quite small in size, they are usually multiple in number, ranging from 1 to 4 on either side.These branches may pass directly to the esophagus and trachea, or may pursue a long and devious course downward into the superior mediastinum, before breaking up into their terminal branches. As a rule, this terminal branching occurs in the region of the groove formed between the trachea and esophagus, with the terminal twigs supplying the adjacent surfaces of both structures. The arterial branches to the esophagus and trachea are derived from the distal half of the inferior thyroid artery 63 times on the right and 65 times on the left side. The esophagus and tracheal arterial branches originate from the proximal half of the inferior thyroid artery 20 times on the right and 23 times on the leftside.