Brachial artery is the main arterial supply of the upper limb providing the blood supply to nearly all of its structures. It is a medium sized artery and is actually a continuation of the axillary artery from the region of the axilla into the arm.
Origin and termination of Brachial artery:
Brachial artery originates at the inferior border of the teres major muscle as a continuation of the axillary artery into the arm. It terminates in the cubital fossa at the level of the neck of the radius bone and divides into two terminal braches; the ulnar artery and the radial artery.
Course of Brachial artery:
Brachial artery is rather superficial in its course. It is overlapped from the lateral side by biceps brachii muscle. It lies upon the triceps and the coracobrachialis muscles. In the proximal region the artery lies medial to the humerus where it is palpable. In the lower part of its course the artery gains an anterior position relative to the humerus. The brachial artery accompanies the median nerve which crosses it from lateral to medial side in the middle of the arm.
Branches of Brachial artery:
Brachial artery has following important branches;
- Muscular branches: It supplies all the muscles of arm directly or through its branches.
- Nutrient artery to the humerus:
- Deep artery of the arm (Profunda brachii artery): Profunda brachii artery arises from medial and posterior part of brachial artery as a large branch just below the lower border of teres major muscle. It closely follows the radial nerve and passes between the lateral and medial heads of triceps muscle. After passing through the radial grove of humerus along the radial nerve, it pierces the lateral intermuscular septum and reaches the front of lateral epicondyle of humerus. It ends by anastomosing with the radial recurrent artery.
Profunda brachii artery supplies the deltoid muscle (which is primarily supplied by the posterior circumflex humeral artery) and occasionally also gives an unusual nutrient artery to the humerus. At its end, it takes part in the formation of anastomoses around elbow joint.
- Superior ulnar collateral artery: It is a small sized artery arising from the brachial artery just below the middle of the arm. It pierces the medial intermuscular septum of the arm and reaches behind the medial epicondyle of humerus. It ends by taking part in anastomoses around the elbow joint.
- Inferior ulnar collateral artery: It arises from brachial artery about two and half inches above the elbow joint. Near its origin it pierces the medial intermuscular septum and reaches behind the medial epicondyle of humerus. It ends by taking part in anastomoses around the elbow joint.
- Radial artery
- Ulnar artery