UAMS Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences - Arteries of the Upper Limb

Gross Anatomy


Arteries of the Upper Limb - Arranged Alphabetically

Artery Source Branches Supply to Notes
anterior circumflex humeral axillary a., 3rd part unnamed muscular branches deltoid m.; arm muscles near the surgical neck of the humerus anterior circumflex humeral a. anastomoses with the posterior circumflex humeral a.
anterior interosseous common interosseous a. muscular brs.; a. of the median nerve flexor pollicis longus m., flexor digitorum profundus m., pronator quadratus m., radius, ulna, carpal bones anterior interosseous a. pierces the interosseous membrane at its distal end to reach the dorsal carpal anastomosis
anterior ulnar recurrent ulnar a. unnamed muscular brs. medial side of elbow and proximal ends of forearm flexor mm. anterior ulnar recurrent a. often arises in common with the posterior ulnar recurrent a.
arch, deep palmar radial a., deep br. of ulnar a. palmar metacarpal aa. (2nd-4th), perforating brs. deep palm, digits including the dorsum of the distal phalangeal segment deep palmar arterial arch receives the majority of its blood supply from the radial a.
arch, dorsal carpal arterial radial a., ulnar a. dorsal metacarpal aa. dorsum of the hand and digits, excluding the distal phalangeal segment dorsal carpal arterial arch receives the majority of its blood supply from the radial a.
arch, superficial palmar ulnar a., superficial palmar br. of the radial a. common palmar digital aa. (3) superficial palm, palmar surface of the digits excluding thumb, dorsum of the distal phalangeal segments of digits 2-5 superficial palmar arterial arch receives the majority of its blood supply from the ulnar a.
axillary subclavian a. (axillary a. is the continuation of the subclavian lateral to the 1st rib) 1st part: superior thoracic a.; 2nd part: thoracoacromial a., lateral thoracic a.; 3rd part: anterior humeral circumflex a., posterior humeral circumflex a., subscapular a. pectoral region, shoulder region and upper limb pectoralis minor m. crosses anterior to the axillary artery and is used to delineate the 3 parts mentioned at left
brachial axillary a. (brachial a. is the continuation of the axillary a. distal to the teres major m.) deep brachial a., superior ulnar collateral a., nutrient a., inferior ulnar collateral a.; terminal branches are the radial a. and the ulnar a. arm, forearm and hand brachial a. normally terminates at the level of the elbow, but high branching may occur
brachial, deep brachial a. ascending br.; terminal branches are the middle collateral a. and radial collateral a. muscles and tissues of the posterior compartment of the arm deep brachial a. spirals around the shaft of the humerus in the radial groove where it is susceptible to injury in mid-shaft fractures
brachiocephalic trunk aortic arch right common carotid a., right subclavian a. right side of the head and neck; right upper limb and right side of the chest wall there is only one brachiocephalic trunk
carpal arterial arch, dorsal radial a., ulnar a. dorsal metacarpal aa. dorsum of the hand and digits, excluding the distal phalangeal segment dorsal carpal arterial arch receives the majority of its blood supply from the radial a.
cervical, transverse thyrocervical trunk unnamed muscular branches, possibly the dorsal scapular a. trapezius muscle and surrounding tissues transverse cervical a. gives rise to the dorsal scapular a. ~30% of the time
circumflex humeral, anterior axillary a., 3rd part unnamed muscular branches deltoid m.; arm muscles near the surgical neck of the humerus anterior circumflex humeral a. anastomoses with the posterior circumflex humeral a.
circumflex humeral, posterior axillary a., 3rd part unnamed muscular branches deltoid; arm muscles near the surgical neck of the humerus posterior circumflex humeral a. anastomoses with the anterior circumflex humeral a.; it passes through the quadrangular space with the axillary nerve
circumflex scapular subscapular a. unnamed muscular branches teres major m., teres minor m., infraspinatus m. circumflex scapular a. anastomoses with the suprascapular a. and the dorsal scapular a. to form the scapular anastomosis
collateral, inferior ulnar brachial a. unnamed muscular branches lower medial arm anastomoses with the anterior ulnar recurrent a.
collateral, middle deep brachial a. unnamed muscular branches medial head of triceps, anconeus anastomoses with the interosseous recurrent a.
collateral, radial deep brachial a. unnamed muscular branches lower lateral arm travels with the radial nerve; anastomoses with the radial recurrent a.
collateral, superior ulnar brachial a. unnamed muscular branches medial arm muscles travels with the ulnar nerve; anastomoses with posterior ulnar recurrent a.
common interosseous ulnar a. anterior interosseous a., posterior interosseous a. deep structures of the forearm common interosseous a. supplies the deep forearm flexor and deep forearm extensor muscles
common palmar digital superficial palmar arterial arch proper palmar digital aa. (2) palmar aspect two adjacent digits common palmar digital aa. anastomose with palmar metacarpal aa.
deep brachial brachial a. ascending br.; terminal branches are the middle collateral a. and radial collateral a. muscles and tissues of the posterior compartment of the arm deep brachial a. spirals around the shaft of the humerus in the radial groove where it is susceptible to injury in mid-shaft fractures
deep palmar arch radial a., deep br. of ulnar a. palmar metacarpal aa. (2nd-4th), perforating brs. deep palm, digits including the dorsum of the distal phalangeal segment deep palmar arterial arch receives the majority of its blood supply from the radial a.
digital, common palmar superficial palmar arterial arch proper palmar digital aa. (2) palmar aspect two adjacent digits common palmar digital aa. anastomose with palmar metacarpal aa.
digital, proper palmar common palmar digital a. no named branches palmar aspect of each digit proper palmar digital aa. supply the dorsum of the distal phalangeal segment and nail bed
dorsal carpal arterial arch radial a., ulnar a. dorsal metacarpal aa. dorsum of the hand and digits, excluding the distal phalangeal segment dorsal carpal arterial arch receives the majority of its blood supply from the radial a.
dorsal digital, of hand dorsal metacarpal a. no named branches dorsal aspect of 1/2 digit, excluding the distal phalangeal segment dorsal digital aa. do not supply the nail bed
dorsal metacarpal 1st: radial a.; 2-4: dorsal carpal arterial arch dorsal digital aa. (2) dorsum of 2 adjacent digits, excluding the distal phalangeal segment each dorsal metacarpal a. gives off a perforating br. that anastomoses with the deep palmar arterial arch
dorsal scapular subclavian a., 3rd part unnamed muscular branches levator scapulae m., rhomboideus major m., rhomboideus minor m. dorsal scapular a. anastomoses with the suprascapular a. and the subscapular a. to form the scapular anastomosis; dorsal scapular a is a branch of the transverse cervical a. in ~30% of cases
humeral, anterior circumflex axillary a., 3rd part unnamed muscular branches deltoid m.; arm muscles near the surgical neck of the humerus anterior circumflex humeral a. anastomoses with the posterior circumflex humeral a.
humeral, posterior circumflex axillary a., 3rd part unnamed muscular branches deltoid; arm muscles near the surgical neck of the humerus posterior circumflex humeral a. anastomoses with the anterior circumflex humeral a.; it passes through the quadrangular space with the axillary nerve
inferior ulnar collateral brachial a. unnamed muscular branches lower medial arm anastomoses with the anterior ulnar recurrent a.
interosseous recurrent posterior interosseous a. unnamed muscular branches anconeus m., elbow joint interosseous recurrent a. anastomoses with the middle collateral a.
interosseous, anterior common interosseous a. muscular brs.; a. of the median nerve flexor pollicis longus m., flexor digitorum profundus m., pronator quadratus m., radius, ulna, carpal bones anterior interosseous a. pierces the interosseous membrane at its distal end to reach the dorsal carpal anastomosis
interosseous, common ulnar a. anterior interosseous a., posterior interosseous a. deep structures of the forearm common interosseous a. supplies the deep forearm flexor and deep forearm extensor muscles
interosseous, posterior common interosseous a. interosseous recurrent muscles of the posterior (extensor) forearm compartment: supinator m., abductor pollicis longus m., extensor pollicis longus m., extensor pollicis brevis m., extensor indicis m. posterior interosseous a. passes proximal to the interosseous membrane to reach the extensor compartment of the forearm
lateral thoracic axillary, 2nd part unnamed muscular branches serratus anterior m., parts of adjacent muscles, skin and fascia of the anterolateral thoracic wall lateral thoracic a. is a rare case in that it enters the serratus anterior from its superficial surface
metacarpal, dorsal 1st: radial a.; 2-4: dorsal carpal arterial arch dorsal digital aa. (2) dorsum of 2 adjacent digits, excluding the distal phalangeal segment each dorsal metacarpal a. gives off a perforating br. that anastomoses with the deep palmar arterial arch
metacarpal, palmar deep palmar arch proper palmar digital aa. interosseous mm., deep hand palmar metacarpal aa. join with the common palmar digital aa.
middle collateral deep brachial a. unnamed muscular branches medial head of triceps, anconeus anastomoses with the interosseous recurrent a.
palmar arch, deep radial a., deep br. of ulnar a. palmar metacarpal aa. (2nd-4th), perforating brs. deep palm, digits including the dorsum of the distal phalangeal segment deep palmar arterial arch receives the majority of its blood supply from the radial a.
palmar arch, superficial ulnar a., superficial palmar br. of the radial a. common palmar digital aa. (3) superficial palm, palmar surface of the digits excluding thumb, dorsum of the distal phalangeal segments of digits 2-5 superficial palmar arterial arch receives the majority of its blood supply from the ulnar a.
palmar digital, common superficial palmar arterial arch proper palmar digital aa. (2) palmar aspect two adjacent digits common palmar digital aa. anastomose with palmar metacarpal aa.
palmar digital, proper common palmar digital a. no named branches palmar aspect of each digit proper palmar digital aa. supply the dorsum of the distal phalangeal segment and nail bed
palmar metacarpal deep palmar arch proper palmar digital aa. interosseous mm., deep hand palmar metacarpal aa. join with the common palmar digital aa.
pectoral thoracoacromial trunk unnamed muscular branches pectoralis major m., pectoralis minor m. pectoral a. accompanies the lateral pectoral n.
posterior circumflex humeral axillary a., 3rd part unnamed muscular branches deltoid; arm muscles near the surgical neck of the humerus posterior circumflex humeral a. anastomoses with the anterior circumflex humeral a.; it passes through the quadrangular space with the axillary nerve
posterior interosseous common interosseous a. interosseous recurrent muscles of the posterior (extensor) forearm compartment: supinator m., abductor pollicis longus m., extensor pollicis longus m., extensor pollicis brevis m., extensor indicis m. posterior interosseous a. passes proximal to the interosseous membrane to reach the extensor compartment of the forearm
posterior ulnar recurrent ulnar a. unnamed muscular branches medial side of the elbow, forearm flexor mm. posterior ulnar recurrent a. often arises from a common trunk with the anterior ulnar recurrent a.
princeps pollicis radial a. two brs. to the thumb palmar aspect of the thumb including the dorsum of the distal phalangeal segment arteria princeps pollicis is similar in function to a proper digital aa.; this artery has a large pulse which can be felt when attempting to take the pulse of a patient - use fingers to feel for the patient's pulse
proper palmar digital common palmar digital a. no named branches palmar aspect of each digit proper palmar digital aa. supply the dorsum of the distal phalangeal segment and nail bed
radial brachial a. radial recurrent a., palmar carpal br., superficial palmar br., dorsal carpal br., 1st dorsal metacarpal a., princeps pollicis a., radialis indicis a., deep palmar arterial arch posterior elbow, posterior forearm, posterior hand, deep portion of palmar side of the hand, thumb radial a. provides the majority of blood supply to the deep palmar arterial arch; normally it arises at the level of the elbow but may high branching of the brachial a. may result in the radial a. arising as proximal as the axilla
radial collateral deep brachial a. unnamed muscular branches lower lateral arm travels with the radial nerve; anastomoses with the radial recurrent a.
radial recurrent radial a. unnamed muscular branches lateral side of the elbow and adjacent extensor muscles radial recurrent a. anastomoses with the radial collateral a.; it courses in the groove between the brachioradialis m. and the brachialis m.
radialis indicis radial a. no named branches lateral (radial) side of the index finger arteria radialis indicis is equivalent to a proper digital a.
recurrent, anterior ulnar ulnar a. unnamed muscular brs. medial side of elbow and proximal ends of forearm flexor mm. anterior ulnar recurrent a. often arises in common with the posterior ulnar recurrent a.
recurrent, interosseous posterior interosseous a. unnamed muscular branches anconeus m., elbow joint interosseous recurrent a. anastomoses with the middle collateral a.
recurrent, posterior ulnar ulnar a. unnamed muscular branches medial side of the elbow, forearm flexor mm. posterior ulnar recurrent a. often arises from a common trunk with the anterior ulnar recurrent a.
recurrent, radial radial a. unnamed muscular branches lateral side of the elbow and adjacent extensor muscles radial recurrent a. anastomoses with the radial collateral a.; it courses in the groove between the brachioradialis m. and the brachialis m.
scapular, circumflex subscapular a. unnamed muscular branches teres major m., teres minor m., infraspinatus m. circumflex scapular a. anastomoses with the suprascapular a. and the dorsal scapular a. to form the scapular anastomosis
scapular, dorsal subclavian a., 3rd part unnamed muscular branches levator scapulae m., rhomboideus major m., rhomboideus minor m. dorsal scapular a. anastomoses with the suprascapular a. and the subscapular a. to form the scapular anastomosis; dorsal scapular a is a branch of the transverse cervical a. in ~30% of cases
subclavian brachiocephalic a. (right), aortic arch (left) 1st part: vertebral a., thyrocervical trunk, internal thoracic a.; 2nd part: costocervical trunk; 3rd part: dorsal scapular a. (70%) neck, brain, spinal cord, thyroid gland, larynx, shoulder, chest muscles, upper limb subclavian a. is continuous with the axillary a., the name change occurs at the lateral border of the first rib; anterior scalene muscle passes anterior to the subclavian a., dividing it into 3 parts
subscapular axillary a., 3rd part circumflex scapular a., thoracodorsal a. subscapularis m., teres major m., teres minor m., infraspinatus m. the circumflex scapular branch of the subscapular a.anastomoses with the suprascapular a. and the dorsal scapular a. in the scapular anastomosis
superficial palmar arch ulnar a., superficial palmar br. of the radial a. common palmar digital aa. (3) superficial palm, palmar surface of the digits excluding thumb, dorsum of the distal phalangeal segments of digits 2-5 superficial palmar arterial arch receives the majority of its blood supply from the ulnar a.
superior thoracic axillary a., 1st part unnamed muscular branches muscles of intercostal spaces 1 and 2 superior thoracic a. anastomoses with the intercostal aa. for intercostal spaces 1 and 2
superior ulnar collateral brachial a. unnamed muscular branches medial arm muscles travels with the ulnar nerve; anastomoses with posterior ulnar recurrent a.
suprascapular thyrocervical trunk muscular supraspinatus & infraspinatus, shoulder joint anastomoses with the circumflex scapular a. and the dorsal scapular a. to form the scapular anastomosis
thoracic, lateral axillary a., 2nd part unnamed muscular branches serratus anterior m., parts of adjacent muscles, skin and fascia of the anterolateral thoracic wall lateral thoracic a. is a rare case in that it enters the serratus anterior from its superficial surface
thoracic, superior axillary a., 1st part unnamed muscular branches muscles of intercostal spaces 1 and 2 superior thoracic a. anastomoses with the intercostal aa. for intercostal spaces 1 and 2
thoracoacromial axillary a., 2nd part pectoral br., clavicular br., acromial br., deltoid br. pectoralis major m., pectoralis minor m., subclavius m., deltoid m., shoulder joint thoracoacromial trunk pierces the costocoracoid membrane
thoracodorsal subscapular a. unnamed muscular branches latissimus dorsi m. thoracodorsal a. accompanies the thoracodorsal n.
trunk, brachiocephalic aortic arch right common carotid a., right subclavian a. right side of the head and neck; right upper limb and right side of the chest wall there is only one brachiocephalic trunk
trunk, thyrocervical subclavian a., 1st part inferior thyroid a., transverse cervical a., suprascapular a. lower neck, posterior shoulder, thyroid gland thyrocervical trunk does not give rise to the ascending cervical a.- it is a branch of the inferior thyroid a.
ulnar brachial a. anterior ulnar recurrent a., posterior ulnar recurrent a., common interosseous a., palmar carpal br., dorsal carpal br., deep palmar br., superficial palmar arterial arch medial side of the anterior forearm, posterior forearm, superficial palm, fingers ulnar a. supplies the majority of blood to the superficial palmar arterial arch; it normally arises at the level of the elbow, but high branching of the brachial a. may cause the ulnar a. to arise as far proximally as the axilla
ulnar collateral, inferior brachial a. unnamed muscular branches lower medial arm anastomoses with the anterior ulnar recurrent a.
ulnar collateral, superior brachial a. unnamed muscular branches medial arm muscles travels with the ulnar nerve; anastomoses with posterior ulnar recurrent a.
ulnar recurrent, anterior ulnar a. unnamed muscular brs. medial side of elbow and proximal ends of forearm flexor mm. anterior ulnar recurrent a. often arises in common with the posterior ulnar recurrent a.
ulnar recurrent, posterior ulnar a. unnamed muscular branches medial side of the elbow, forearm flexor mm. posterior ulnar recurrent a. often arises from a common trunk with the anterior ulnar recurrent a.


Some of the material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest and Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York. Copyright 1995.

The content of these tables has been edited for use in this course by Patrick W. Tank, Ph.D.
Copyright 2009, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Unauthorized use is prohibited.



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