Coronary circulation

Anatomical structure
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Description Coronary circulation is the circulation of blood in the blood vessels of the heart muscle (myocardium). The vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood to the myocardium are known as coronary arteries. The vessels that remove the deoxygenated blood from the heart muscle are known as cardiac veins. These include the great cardiac vein, the middle cardiac vein, the small cardiac vein and the anterior cardiac veins.As the left and right coronary arteries run on the surface of the heart, they can be called epicardial coronary arteries. These arteries, when healthy, are capable of autoregulation to maintain coronary blood flow at levels appropriate to the needs of the heart muscle. These relatively narrow vessels are commonly affected by atherosclerosis and can become blocked, causing angina or a heart attack. (See also: circulatory system.) The coronary arteries that run deep within the myocardium are referred to as subendocardial.The coronary arteries are classified as "end circulation", since they represent the only source of blood supply to the myocardium: there is very little redundant blood supply, which is why blockage of these vessels can be so critical.Coronary anatomyThe two coronary arteries originate from the left side of the heart at the beginning of the aorta, just after the aorta exits the left ventricle. The left coronary artery originates from the left aortic sinus, while the right coronary artery originates from the right aortic sinus. No artery arises from the posterior aortic sinus.

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