Subclavian artery

Subclavian artery. (TA: subclavian artery) It is an artery of the neck . There are two; the right is born from the brachiocephalic trunk , to the left of the arch of the aorta , and the left is born directly from the aorta.


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  • 1 Origin
  • 2 Route and direction
  • 3 Termination
  • 4 Divisions
  • 5 Anatomical relations
  • 6 Location
  • 7 The right subclavian is related
  • 8 Interscalene portion
  • 9 Post-scalenic portion
  • 10 Collateral branches
  • 11 Depending on the arterial trunks
  • 12 Thyrobicervicoscapular trunk
  • 13 Depending on your journey
  • 14 Descending
  • 15 External
  • 16 Terminal branches
  • 17 Distribution
  • 18 Sources


It originates from the right brachiocephalic arterial trunk and to the left from the aortic arch behind the primitive carotid artery .

Route and direction

The left subclavian is longer than the right since it ascends vertically first in the thorax. Both are directed outward and slightly forward, passing over the first rib between the anterior and middle scalene muscles .


It ends in the space between the clavicle and the first rib.


The subclavian artery is divided into 4 parts (left subclavian artery) and 3 parts (right subclavian artery):

  • Thoracic portion: Gives branches that supply the thoracic structures (exclusively the left subclavian).
  • Pre-scallenic or intrascalenic portion: the subclavian vein and artery separate, leaving the vein in the ventral part of the anterior scalene muscle and the artery behind (between the anterior scalene and the middle scalene, together with the brachial plexus).
  • Scelenic or interscalene portion : deep to the anterior scalene.
  • Post-scallenic or extra-scallenic portion: the vein continues in the ventral part of the artery, and both are related to the brachial plexus.

Anatomical relations

Relationship is called the condition of proximity between two anatomical structures to the point of being in contact. Knowledge of anatomical relationships helps professionals guide themselves through the intricate organism of a living being.

Prescalenic portion: in this portion both subclavias follow different paths. The left subclavian is related in its intrathoracic path :

  • Ahead: with the left primitive carotid artery and the pneumogastric nerve .
  • From behind: with the bodies of the cervical vertebrae.
  • Inside: with the esophagus , trachea , recurrent left laryngeal nerve and thoracic duct.
  • On the outside: with the pleura and the lung .


  • Ahead: with the subclavian loop and the phrenic nerve (does not touch the pneumogastric nerve). With the subclavian vein and the brachiocephalic vein, the infrahyoid muscles, and the sternoclavicular joint (joint between the sternum and the clavicle).
  • Behind: with the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the pleural dome and its suspensory ligaments , vertebropleurocostal and vertebropleural.
  • Below: with the endothoracic fascia, the subclavian loop, and the phrenic nerve anastomosis with the lower cervical ganglion .
  • Above: with the thoracic duct .

The right subclavian is related

  • Ahead:with the pneumogastric nerve, the subclavian loop, and the phrenic nerve. With the subclavian vein and the brachiocephalic vein, the infrahyoid muscles, and the sternoclavicular joint.
  • Behind: with the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the pleural dome and its suspensory ligaments, vertebropleurocostal and vertebropleural.
  • Below: with the endothoracic fascia, the recurrent laryngeal nerve, the subclavian loop, and the anastomosis of the phrenic nerve with the lower cervical ganglion.

Interscalene portion

  • Ahead: with the anterior scalene muscle .
  • From behind: with the brachial plexus and the posterior scalene muscle.
  • Bottom: with the first rib.
  • Above: with the brachial plexus.

Postscalenic portion

  • Inside: with the first fingering of the serratus major muscle .
  • On the outside: with the middle fascia , the clavicle and the subclavian muscle.
  • From behind: with the brachial plexus .

Collateral branches

It has nine collateral branches that can be classified according to the trunks from which they originate or according to their path.

Depending on the arterial trunks

Generally they are born from five trunks:

  • Vertebral artery.
  • Cervical-intercostal arterial trunk.
  • Superior intercostal artery.
  • Deep cervical artery.
  • Internal mammary artery.

Thyrobicervicoscapular trunk

  • Inferior thyroid artery .
  • Ascending cervical artery .
  • Superficial transverse cervical artery.
  • Superior scapular or suprascapular artery.
  • Posterior scapular artery.

Depending on your journey

For its route, the collateral branches can be divided into 3 groups:

  • Ascendants:
  • Vertebral artery.
  • Inferior thyroid artery.


  • Superior intercostal artery.
  • Internal mammary artery .


  • Superior scapular artery.
  • Posterior scapular artery.
  • Superficial transverse cervical artery.
  • Ascending cervical artery.
  • Deep cervical artery.

Terminal branches

  • Finally, the axillary artery is continued.


It is distributed to the neck, chest wall, spinal cord , brain , meninges, and upper limbs.


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