Coronary arteries


The heart muscle , like any other organ or tissue found in the body, needs oxygen- rich blood in order to survive. Blood is supplied to the heart by its own vascular system , called the coronary circulation.  The aorta , our body’s main supplier of blood, is divided into two main coronary blood vessels called arteries . And the coronary arteries, in turn, branch into smaller arteries, which supply oxygen-rich blood to the entire heart muscle .


What are the coronary arteries?

The coronary arteries are the arteries that are responsible for supplying blood to the heart muscle which needs oxygen- rich blood to function through the right coronary artery and the left coronary artery .

  • Coronary Artery Function
  • Location of the coronary arteries
  • Branches of the coronary arteries
  • Obstructed coronary arteries

Coronary Artery Function

The function of the coronary arteries is to make the supply of blood to the heart muscle, and oxygenated blood it needs to function properly and to remove blood that has already been extracted oxygen. The left coronary artery is divided into a series of branches:  anterior descending and circumflex , and is responsible for transporting blood to the left ventricle of the heart and the left atrium . On the other hand, the right coronary artery divides into the right posterior descending artery and the marginal artery, And functions to the transport of blood oxygen to the ventricle right , right atrium, sinoatrial node to the wall of the right atrium and the aurioventricular node.


Location of the coronary arteries

The right coronary artery arises in the right cardiac and pulmonary atrium , and then enters the right atrioventricular groove , traveling through it until it reaches the posterior interventricular groove, forming the posterior interventricular artery . The right coronary artery, when dividing in two, can also be located in the right ventricle and in the lower region of the left ventricle . On the other hand, the left coronary artery is located supplying the anterior and lateral aspect of the left ventricle .

Branches of the coronary arteries

The left coronary artery forms the following trunk or branches:

  • Left coronary trunk : it is the place where the left coronary artery begins and arises in the left aortic sinus, passing behind the pulmonary artery. It can measure up to 20 mm and there are even cases in which it does not exist.
  • Anterior descending : it is also known as the anterior interventricular branch and arises at the bifurcation of the left coronary artery , passing through the pulmonary artery and running through the entire interventricular groove. In turn, it has two branches that also supply blood, the diagonal branches and the septal branches.
  • Branch of the cone arteriosus : it is responsible for supplying irrigation to the right ventricular outflow tract.
  • Diagonal branches : they go towards the lateral face . It generally are two together but their number may vary.
  • Septal branches : they are small branches that enter the interventricular septum , giving irrigation to the previous two thirds.
  • Circumflex : It is born in the bifurcation of the left coronary trunk and borders the heart in its posterior part. It irrigates the lateral and posterolateral aspect of the left ventricle .
  • Auricular branches : small branches that supply the lateral and posterior wall of the left atrium.
  • Marginal obtuse branches : they originate in the circumflex artery and border the heart supplying its lateral and posterolateral face in the left ventricle.
  • Posterior descending : It is also known as the posterior interventricular branch .
  • Intermediate branch : known as the Bisector branch and it irrigates the lateral wall of the heart acting as a diagonal.

The right coronary artery arises from the aortic sinus and surrounds the heart. The ramifications it has are the following:

  • Cone arteriosus branch : supplies the cone arteriosus of the right ventricle .
  • Sinus node artery : in most patients it leaves the right coronary artery and goes through the anterior face of the right atrium to the mouth of the vena cava, ending in the sinus node.
  • Marginal acute : these are branches that originate in the right coronary artery .
  • Posterior descending : in most people it arises in the right coronary artery , ending before reaching the distal third of the lower face of the ventricle.
  • Posterolateral branch : it may be absent in some patients and is a continuation of the right coronary that supplies the posterior aspect of the left ventricle.

Obstructed coronary arteries

Coronary artery disease is the most common type of heart disease and is the leading cause of death for men and women. This disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart become hard and narrow . Generally, this occurs as a consequence of the accumulation of cholesterol in the walls of the artery . This accumulation is known by the name of arteriosclerosis . As the arteries fill with cholesterol, the blood cannot flow smoothly and the heart does not receivethe necessary flow of oxygen . Among the symptoms that a person may experience are:

  • Chest pain called angina , which is tightness-like pain in the chest.
  • Arrhythmias
  • Heart failure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart attacks.

The causes of the disease are smoking , high blood pressure , high cholesterol , physical inactivity and diabetes . Age, family history, and sex are risk factors, so it is important to apply appropriate prevention methods to avoid the appearance of these diseases. The indicated treatment is based on three different aspects:

  • Administration of medications to lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Angioplasty and implantation of coronary stents.
  • Bypass coronary artery.

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