The coronary arteries arise just distal (superior) to the aortic valve and supply the heart. They divide and encircle the heart to cover its surface with a lacy network resembling perhaps a slightly crooked crown.
Although there are variations (see main article: congenital coronary artery anomalies), the anatomy is relatively consistent. The typical configuration consists of two coronary arteries, a left coronary and a right coronary, arising from the left and right aortic sinuses in the proximal ascending aorta.
The left coronary has a short common stem before dividing into left circumflex, which courses over the left atrioventricular groove, and the left anterior descending artery, which passes towards the apex in the interventricular groove. Occasionally there is a trifurcation, and the third branch is called the ramus intermedius. In left dominant hearts the left circumflex supplies the inferior interventricular artery.
- left coronary artery branches
- right coronary artery branches (RCA)
History and etymology
Coronary comes from the Latin "coronarius" meaning belonging to a crown or wreath.