Besides the arteria carotis communis, the arteria subclavia is one of the large arteries of the neck. It supplies parts of the neck, especially the upper extremity and also parts of the chest with arterial blood. As described above, the right subclavian artery originates from the brachiocephalic trunk and the left subclavian artery directly from the aortic arch.
It runs across the tip of the lung through a gap between the muscles scalenus anterior and scalenus medius (scalenus gap). In the course of the artery, this gap represents a narrowing where blood flow can be impaired. It then runs along the first rib and under the collarbone towards the shoulder and armpit.
There it passes into the axillary artery, which supplies the arm with blood. In its course, the subclavian artery gives off four branches. The first branch is the internal thoracic artery, which comes off before the gap in the scale and runs along the thorax to the diaphragm.
It supplies parts of the chest wall as well as the pericardium and diaphragm. Another branch is the arteria vertebralis, which runs to the sixth cervical vertebra and between the cervical vertebrae with the vena vertebralis and the nervus vertebralis up to the head. It enters the head in the posterior fossa and merges with the vertebral artery on the opposite side to form the basilar artery.
This artery supplies parts of the brain and spinal cord. The next outlet is the Truncus thyrocervicalis, a trunk of the Arteria subclavia, from which three arteries emerge: the inferior thyroid, suprascapular and transversa cervicis. The arteria thyroidea inferior crosses the vascular-nervous road of the neck and runs to the back of the thyroid gland, which supplies it with blood.
From it emerge the arteria laryngea inferior, which runs to the larynx, and the arteria cervicalis ascendens, which together with the nervus phrenicus runs to the head and supplies parts of the neck muscles and the spinal cord. The suprascapular artery runs behind the clavicle to the shoulder blade and supplies not only the clavicle and shoulder joint but also some surrounding muscles. At the lateral edge of the shoulder blade, it connects (anastomoses) with branches of the axillary artery.
The arteria transversa cervicis has branches that supply the neck and shoulder muscles. In addition to the Truncus thyrocervicalis, the Arteria subclavia also gives rise to the Truncus costocervicalis. Two branches emerge from it: the Arteria cervicalis profunda, which runs in the direction of the head and supplies the deep neck muscles with branches (rami spinales) as well as the skins of the spinal cord, and the Arteria intercostalis suprema for supplying the upper muscles in the intercostal spaces (intercostal muscles).