The coronary artery anatomy is part of the coronary circulation which pertains to the circulation of blood in the myocardium (heart muscle). The blood vessels that wrap around the heart muscles carry the much-needed oxygen. The heart would not be able to function without oxygen and nutrients because it constantly contracts and relaxes. The coronary circulation is very important and it is only logical for us to take a good look at this topic.
Overview of the Coronary Artery Anatomy
The system of blood vessels on the surface of the heart is called the coronary system. The blood vessels are called coronary arteries that supply the myocardium with oxygen-rich blood. The vessels that carry non-oxygenated blood are called the cardiac veins. The coronary arteries primarily are composed of the following.
- Left main coronary artery
- Left anterior descending artery
- Left circumflex artery
- Right coronary artery
General Characteristics of the Coronary Artery Anatomy
The coronary artery anatomy is ultimately connected to the aorta, near the superior part of the heart. The coronary arteries mainly branch into two stems, the left and the right coronary artery. The proximal part of the coronary artery is called the left coronary artery. This blood vessel’s diameter is approximately the size of a straw and only around more than 2 centimeters long. The left main coronary artery splits into two smaller arteries which are the left circumflex coronary artery and left anterior descending coronary artery. The left circumflex artery is wrapped around the left lateral and posterior side of the heart. On the other hand, the left anterior descending coronary artery attached at the anterior side of the heart.
Diseases of Coronary Arteries
Like any parts of the body, the coronary arteries are exposed to risks in developing diseases. Coronary artery diseases are the result of the accumulation of atheromatous plaques inside the coronary artery. The heart tries to compensate on this abnormality by pumping more blood. Since the blood supply is not able to reach every cells of the myocardium, the cells would starve from oxygen and nutrients which are essential for the proper functioning of the heart.
There are many things that can result from a blocked coronary artery anatomy. The consequences of this situation greatly depend upon the extent of the blockage. When the heart compensate for the shortage of oxygen, it will eventually enlarge. Oxygen is very significant for myocardial contraction and if there is no enough oxygen, the myocardial cells would perform anaerobic metabolism which has lactic acid as the end-product. The lactic acid will irritate the heart muscles and might result to chest pain or angina. If the cell starvation would not be addressed properly and early enough, cell death may occur that will ultimately be the reason for a person to die.
Summary of Anatomy of the Coronary Arteries
The coronary artery anatomy is very important for the maintenance of the body’s equilibrium. The coronary circulation supplies oxygen and nutrients for the muscles of the heart.
Taking care of our health involves taking care of our coronary arteries. Our general health status greatly depends on the health of our coronary artery anatomy.