Blood Supply of Heart
The heart receives its blood supply through a network of blood vessels known as the coronary circulation. The coronary circulation is responsible for delivering oxygenated blood and nutrients to the heart muscle (myocardium) to support its continuous contraction and function. The primary blood vessels involved in the blood supply of the heart are the coronary arteries and cardiac veins.
- Right Coronary Artery (RCA): The RCA arises from the aorta and primarily supplies blood to the right atrium, right ventricle, and the posterior portion of the left ventricle.
- Left Main Coronary Artery (LMCA): The LMCA bifurcates into two main branches, the left anterior descending artery (LAD) and the left circumflex artery (LCx).
- Left Anterior Descending Artery (LAD): The LAD supplies blood to the front and side walls of the left ventricle and a portion of the interventricular septum.
- Left Circumflex Artery (LCx): The LCx wraps around the left side of the heart and supplies blood to the lateral walls of the left ventricle and sometimes the back of the heart.
- Great Cardiac Vein: Drains the blood from the anterior aspect of the heart and travels alongside the LAD artery.
- Middle Cardiac Vein: Drains the posterior aspect of the heart and runs parallel to the posterior interventricular artery.
- Small Cardiac Vein: Drains the right side of the heart and accompanies the right coronary artery.
Additionally, the coronary circulation includes an important feature called the coronary collateral circulation. Collateral vessels can develop over time, providing an alternative pathway for blood flow if there is a blockage or narrowing in the main coronary arteries. These collateral vessels help maintain blood supply to the heart muscle.
It’s important to note that any obstruction or reduced blood flow in the coronary arteries, such as due to atherosclerosis or blood clot formation, can lead to coronary artery disease (CAD) and potentially result in conditions like angina, myocardial infarction (heart attack), or other heart-related complications.