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Carotid Arterial System: Anatomy

The carotid arterial system provides blood supply to the head and neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess. The arterial system begins as the common carotid artery, which arises directly from the aortic arch Aortic arch Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy on the left side and from the brachiocephalic trunk/artery on the right. The common carotid arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology then ascend through the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess and divide into the internal and external carotid arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology. The former supplies structures within the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification and orbits, whereas the latter supplies the superficial structures and parts of the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess and face.

Last updated: Oct 26, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Common Carotid Artery

The common carotid artery has different origins on either side of the body:

The common carotid artery bifurcates at the level of the thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology (C4 vertebra) into:

  • External carotid artery
  • Internal carotid artery
Bifurcation of the carotid artery

Bifurcation of the carotid artery

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Carotid body:

  • Oval-shaped cluster of chemoreceptors posterior to the bifurcation 
  • Functions as a sensor for PO2 levels and changes in blood pH pH The quantitative measurement of the acidity or basicity of a solution. Acid-Base Balance
  • Changes the rate and volume of respiration Respiration The act of breathing with the lungs, consisting of inhalation, or the taking into the lungs of the ambient air, and of exhalation, or the expelling of the modified air which contains more carbon dioxide than the air taken in. Nose and Nasal Cavity: Anatomy
  • Innervated by the carotid branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve Glossopharyngeal nerve The 9th cranial nerve. The glossopharyngeal nerve is a mixed motor and sensory nerve; it conveys somatic and autonomic efferents as well as general, special, and visceral afferents. Among the connections are motor fibers to the stylopharyngeus muscle, parasympathetic fibers to the parotid glands, general and taste afferents from the posterior third of the tongue, the nasopharynx, and the palate, and afferents from baroreceptors and chemoreceptor cells of the carotid sinus. Pharynx: Anatomy

Carotid sinus:

  • Dilation at the base of the internal carotid artery
  • Baroreceptor: relays information about arterial blood pressure to the hypothalamus Hypothalamus The hypothalamus is a collection of various nuclei within the diencephalon in the center of the brain. The hypothalamus plays a vital role in endocrine regulation as the primary regulator of the pituitary gland, and it is the major point of integration between the central nervous and endocrine systems. Hypothalamus
  • Innervated by the carotid branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve Glossopharyngeal nerve The 9th cranial nerve. The glossopharyngeal nerve is a mixed motor and sensory nerve; it conveys somatic and autonomic efferents as well as general, special, and visceral afferents. Among the connections are motor fibers to the stylopharyngeus muscle, parasympathetic fibers to the parotid glands, general and taste afferents from the posterior third of the tongue, the nasopharynx, and the palate, and afferents from baroreceptors and chemoreceptor cells of the carotid sinus. Pharynx: Anatomy
Common carotid artery within the carotid sheath

Common carotid artery within the carotid sheath

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio
Table: Spatial relations of the common carotid artery
Thoracic part Thoracic part Esophagus: Anatomy (left) Lower neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess (both) Higher neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess (both)
Anterior
  • Sternohyoid and sternothyroid muscles
  • Anterior part of lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy and pleura Pleura The pleura is a serous membrane that lines the walls of the thoracic cavity and the surface of the lungs. This structure of mesodermal origin covers both lungs, the mediastinum, the thoracic surface of the diaphragm, and the inner part of the thoracic cage. The pleura is divided into a visceral pleura and parietal pleura. Pleura: Anatomy
  • Remains of the thymus Thymus A single, unpaired primary lymphoid organ situated in the mediastinum, extending superiorly into the neck to the lower edge of the thyroid gland and inferiorly to the fourth costal cartilage. It is necessary for normal development of immunologic function early in life. By puberty, it begins to involute and much of the tissue is replaced by fat. Lymphatic Drainage System: Anatomy
  • Left brachiocephalic vein
Posterior
  • Trachea Trachea The trachea is a tubular structure that forms part of the lower respiratory tract. The trachea is continuous superiorly with the larynx and inferiorly becomes the bronchial tree within the lungs. The trachea consists of a support frame of semicircular, or C-shaped, rings made out of hyaline cartilage and reinforced by collagenous connective tissue. Trachea: Anatomy
  • Esophagus Esophagus The esophagus is a muscular tube-shaped organ of around 25 centimeters in length that connects the pharynx to the stomach. The organ extends from approximately the 6th cervical vertebra to the 11th thoracic vertebra and can be divided grossly into 3 parts: the cervical part, the thoracic part, and the abdominal part. Esophagus: Anatomy
  • Left recurrent laryngeal nerve
  • Thoracic duct Thoracic Duct The largest lymphatic vessel that passes through the chest and drains into the subclavian vein. Lymphatic Drainage System: Anatomy
Lateral
  • Phrenic nerve Phrenic nerve The motor nerve of the diaphragm. The phrenic nerve fibers originate in the cervical spinal column (mostly C4) and travel through the cervical plexus to the diaphragm. Diaphragm: Anatomy
  • Left vagus
  • Left pleura Pleura The pleura is a serous membrane that lines the walls of the thoracic cavity and the surface of the lungs. This structure of mesodermal origin covers both lungs, the mediastinum, the thoracic surface of the diaphragm, and the inner part of the thoracic cage. The pleura is divided into a visceral pleura and parietal pleura. Pleura: Anatomy
  • Vagus nerve Vagus nerve The 10th cranial nerve. The vagus is a mixed nerve which contains somatic afferents (from skin in back of the ear and the external auditory meatus), visceral afferents (from the pharynx, larynx, thorax, and abdomen), parasympathetic efferents (to the thorax and abdomen), and efferents to striated muscle (of the larynx and pharynx). Pharynx: Anatomy
  • Internal jugular vein Internal jugular vein Parapharyngeal Abscess (within the same carotid sheath)
Medial Brachiocephalic trunk/artery Trachea Trachea The trachea is a tubular structure that forms part of the lower respiratory tract. The trachea is continuous superiorly with the larynx and inferiorly becomes the bronchial tree within the lungs. The trachea consists of a support frame of semicircular, or C-shaped, rings made out of hyaline cartilage and reinforced by collagenous connective tissue. Trachea: Anatomy
  • Larynx Larynx The larynx, also commonly called the voice box, is a cylindrical space located in the neck at the level of the C3-C6 vertebrae. The major structures forming the framework of the larynx are the thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, and epiglottis. The larynx serves to produce sound (phonation), conducts air to the trachea, and prevents large molecules from reaching the lungs. Larynx: Anatomy
  • Pharynx Pharynx The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy
  • Thyroid gland Thyroid gland The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy

External Carotid Artery

The external carotid artery supplies the following structures:

  • Superficial structures of the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess
  • Face
  • Jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy
  • Scalp
  • Meninges Meninges The brain and the spinal cord are enveloped by 3 overlapping layers of connective tissue called the meninges. The layers are, from the most external layer to the most internal layer, the dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater. Between these layers are 3 potential spaces called the epidural, subdural, and subarachnoid spaces. Meninges: Anatomy

Origin

Superficial, within the carotid triangle Carotid triangle Triangles of the Neck: Anatomy, and at the level of the thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology (C4)

Eight major branches

  1. Superior thyroid artery Superior thyroid artery Thyroid Gland: Anatomy
  2. Ascending pharyngeal artery
  3. Lingual artery Lingual artery Lips and Tongue: Anatomy
  4. Facial artery
  5. Occipital Occipital Part of the back and base of the cranium that encloses the foramen magnum. Skull: Anatomy artery
  6. Posterior auricular artery
  7. Maxillary artery
  8. Superficial temporal artery Superficial Temporal Artery Giant Cell Arteritis

To help remember the 8 major branches, use the following mnemonic: Some Anatomists Like Freaking Out Poor Medical Students.

  • Superior thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy artery
  • Ascending pharyngeal artery
  • Lingual artery
  • Facial artery
  • Occipital artery
  • Posterior auricular artery
  • M axillary artery Axillary Artery The continuation of the subclavian artery; it distributes over the upper limb, axilla, chest and shoulder. Axilla and Brachial Plexus: Anatomy
  • Superficial temporal artery
Table: Structures supplied by the 8 major branches of the external carotid artery
Branch Structures supplied
Superior thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy
Ascending pharyngeal
  • Pharynx Pharynx The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy
  • Prevertebral muscles Prevertebral muscles Muscles of the Neck: Anatomy
  • Middle ear Middle ear The space and structures directly internal to the tympanic membrane and external to the inner ear (labyrinth). Its major components include the auditory ossicles and the eustachian tube that connects the cavity of middle ear (tympanic cavity) to the upper part of the throat. Acute Otitis Media
  • Cranial meninges Meninges The brain and the spinal cord are enveloped by 3 overlapping layers of connective tissue called the meninges. The layers are, from the most external layer to the most internal layer, the dura mater, arachnoid mater, and pia mater. Between these layers are 3 potential spaces called the epidural, subdural, and subarachnoid spaces. Meninges: Anatomy
Lingual
  • Intrinsic muscles of the tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy
  • Floor of the mouth
Facial
  • Tonsils Tonsils Tonsillitis
  • Palate Palate The palate is the structure that forms the roof of the mouth and floor of the nasal cavity. This structure is divided into soft and hard palates. Palate: Anatomy
  • Submandibular glands Submandibular glands One of two salivary glands in the neck, located in the space bound by the two bellies of the digastric muscle and the angle of the mandible. It discharges through the submandibular duct. The secretory units are predominantly serous although a few mucous alveoli, some with serous demilunes, occur. Gastrointestinal Secretions
Occipital Occipital Part of the back and base of the cranium that encloses the foramen magnum. Skull: Anatomy Posterior region of the scalp
Posterior auricular
  • Parotid gland Parotid gland The largest of the three pairs of salivary glands. They lie on the sides of the face immediately below and in front of the ear. Salivary Glands: Anatomy
  • Facial nerve Facial nerve The 7th cranial nerve. The facial nerve has two parts, the larger motor root which may be called the facial nerve proper, and the smaller intermediate or sensory root. Together they provide efferent innervation to the muscles of facial expression and to the lacrimal and salivary glands, and convey afferent information for taste from the anterior two-thirds of the tongue and for touch from the external ear. The 12 Cranial Nerves: Overview and Functions
  • Ear
  • Scalp
Maxillary
Superficial temporal Temporal region Temporal Region Epidural Hemorrhage of the scalp
Major branches of the external carotid artery

Major branches of the external carotid artery

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Relations

  • Anterior:
    • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions
    • Superficial fascia Fascia Layers of connective tissue of variable thickness. The superficial fascia is found immediately below the skin; the deep fascia invests muscles, nerves, and other organs. Cellulitis
    • Platysma Platysma Muscles of the Neck: Anatomy muscle
    • Deep fascia Fascia Layers of connective tissue of variable thickness. The superficial fascia is found immediately below the skin; the deep fascia invests muscles, nerves, and other organs. Cellulitis
    • Anterior margin of the sternocleidomastoid Sternocleidomastoid Muscles of the Neck: Anatomy muscle
  • Posterior: superior laryngeal nerve
  • Medial:
    • Hyoid bone Bone Bone is a compact type of hardened connective tissue composed of bone cells, membranes, an extracellular mineralized matrix, and central bone marrow. The 2 primary types of bone are compact and spongy. Bones: Structure and Types
    • Pharynx Pharynx The pharynx is a component of the digestive system that lies posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity, and larynx. The pharynx can be divided into the oropharynx, nasopharynx, and laryngopharynx. Pharyngeal muscles play an integral role in vital processes such as breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Pharynx: Anatomy
    • Superior laryngeal nerve
    • Parotid gland Parotid gland The largest of the three pairs of salivary glands. They lie on the sides of the face immediately below and in front of the ear. Salivary Glands: Anatomy
  • Lateral: internal carotid artery

Internal Carotid Artery

The internal carotid artery supplies the following structures:

  • Frontal Frontal The bone that forms the frontal aspect of the skull. Its flat part forms the forehead, articulating inferiorly with the nasal bone and the cheek bone on each side of the face. Skull: Anatomy lobe
  • Parietal Parietal One of a pair of irregularly shaped quadrilateral bones situated between the frontal bone and occipital bone, which together form the sides of the cranium. Skull: Anatomy lobe
  • Temporal lobe Temporal lobe Lower lateral part of the cerebral hemisphere responsible for auditory, olfactory, and semantic processing. It is located inferior to the lateral fissure and anterior to the occipital lobe. Cerebral Cortex: Anatomy
  • Diencephalon Diencephalon The paired caudal parts of the prosencephalon from which the thalamus; hypothalamus; epithalamus; and subthalamus are derived. Development of the Nervous System and Face
  • Eyes
  • Parts of the paranasal sinuses Paranasal Sinuses The 4 pair of paranasal sinuses include the maxillary, ethmoid, sphenoid, and frontal sinuses. The sinuses are a group of air-filled cavities located within the facial and cranial skeleton; all are connected to the main nasal cavity and nasopharynx. Paranasal Sinuses: Anatomy ( ophthalmic artery Ophthalmic artery Artery originating from the internal carotid artery and distributing to the eye, orbit and adjacent facial structures. Eye: Anatomy)
  • Contributes to the circle of Willis Circle of Willis A polygonal anastomosis at the base of the brain formed by the internal carotid, proximal parts of the anterior, middle, and posterior cerebral arteries, the anterior communicating artery and the posterior communicating arteries. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage in the cerebrovascular system Cerebrovascular system Blood supply to the brain can be divided into an anterior and a posterior circulation, which interconnect to form the circle of Willis. The anterior circulation is derived from the internal carotid arteries and consists mainly of the anterior and middle cerebral arteries. The posterior circulation is derived from the vertebral arteries and consists primarily of the cerebellar and posterior cerebral arteries. Cerebrovascular System: Anatomy

Location

  • Originates within the carotid triangle Carotid triangle Triangles of the Neck: Anatomy at the level of the thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy cartilage Cartilage Cartilage is a type of connective tissue derived from embryonic mesenchyme that is responsible for structural support, resilience, and the smoothness of physical actions. Perichondrium (connective tissue membrane surrounding cartilage) compensates for the absence of vasculature in cartilage by providing nutrition and support. Cartilage: Histology (C4)
  • Ascends and enters the skull Skull The skull (cranium) is the skeletal structure of the head supporting the face and forming a protective cavity for the brain. The skull consists of 22 bones divided into the viscerocranium (facial skeleton) and the neurocranium. Skull: Anatomy through the carotid canal ( temporal bone Temporal bone Either of a pair of compound bones forming the lateral (left and right) surfaces and base of the skull which contains the organs of hearing. It is a large bone formed by the fusion of parts: the squamous (the flattened anterior-superior part), the tympanic (the curved anterior-inferior part), the mastoid (the irregular posterior portion), and the petrous (the part at the base of the skull). Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy)
  • Terminates as the middle and anterior cerebral arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology

Segments

The internal carotid artery is divided into segments:

  • Modern division: 
  • Cincinnati classification: 
    • Cervical
    • Petrous
    • Lacerum
    • Cavernous
    • Clinoid
    • Ophthalmic (supraclinoid)
    • Communicating (terminal) segments

Mnemonic: C‘mon Please Learn the Carotid Clinical Organizing Classification

  • Cervical
  • Petrous
  • Lacerum
  • Cavernous
  • Clinoid
  • Ophthalmic
  • Communicating
Segments internal carotid artery

Segments of the internal carotid artery

Image by BioDigital, edited by Lecturio

Clinical Relevance

  • Carotid artery stenosis Carotid artery stenosis Carotid artery stenosis is a chronic atherosclerotic disease resulting in narrowing of the common and internal carotid arteries. Common risk factors include family history, advanced age, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and diabetes mellitus. Patients may present with or without symptoms of decreased cerebral perfusion. Carotid Artery Stenosis: a narrowing of the lumen of the carotid arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology due to fat and cholesterol Cholesterol The principal sterol of all higher animals, distributed in body tissues, especially the brain and spinal cord, and in animal fats and oils. Cholesterol Metabolism deposition. Carotid artery stenosis Carotid artery stenosis Carotid artery stenosis is a chronic atherosclerotic disease resulting in narrowing of the common and internal carotid arteries. Common risk factors include family history, advanced age, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and diabetes mellitus. Patients may present with or without symptoms of decreased cerebral perfusion. Carotid Artery Stenosis occurs in patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship with hypercholesterolemia Hypercholesterolemia A condition with abnormally high levels of cholesterol in the blood. It is defined as a cholesterol value exceeding the 95th percentile for the population. Lipid Disorders and atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis is a common form of arterial disease in which lipid deposition forms a plaque in the blood vessel walls. Atherosclerosis is an incurable disease, for which there are clearly defined risk factors that often can be reduced through a change in lifestyle and behavior of the patient. Atherosclerosis and is a primary risk factor for ischemic stroke Ischemic Stroke An ischemic stroke (also known as cerebrovascular accident) is an acute neurologic injury that occurs as a result of brain ischemia; this condition may be due to cerebral blood vessel occlusion by thrombosis or embolism, or rarely due to systemic hypoperfusion. Ischemic Stroke. Carotid artery stenosis Carotid artery stenosis Carotid artery stenosis is a chronic atherosclerotic disease resulting in narrowing of the common and internal carotid arteries. Common risk factors include family history, advanced age, hyperlipidemia, smoking, and diabetes mellitus. Patients may present with or without symptoms of decreased cerebral perfusion. Carotid Artery Stenosis can be treated with antiplatelet medications or surgical revascularization Revascularization Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger’s Disease) in severe cases.
  • Dissection of the carotid and vertebral arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology: separation of the tunica media Tunica media The middle layer of blood vessel walls, composed principally of thin, cylindrical, smooth muscle cells and elastic tissue. It accounts for the bulk of the wall of most arteries. The smooth muscle cells are arranged in circular layers around the vessel, and the thickness of the coat varies with the size of the vessel. Arteries: Histology and tunica intima Tunica intima The innermost layer of an artery or vein, made up of one layer of endothelial cells and supported by an internal elastic lamina. Arteries: Histology of the carotid artery. The dissection typically presents with the sudden onset of severe headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess and neck pain Neck Pain Neck pain is one of the most common complaints in the general population. Depending on symptom duration, it can be acute, subacute, or chronic. There are many causes of neck pain, including degenerative disease, trauma, rheumatologic disease, and infections. Neck Pain. Focal neurologic deficits Neurologic Deficits High-Risk Headaches can occur secondary to stenosis Stenosis Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) of the carotid artery or thrombus formation. 
  • Superficial temporal arteritis Temporal arteritis Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a type of large-vessel vasculitis that predominantly affects the aorta and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Giant cell arteritis is defined by inflammatory leukocytes in the vessel walls leading to reactive damage, ischemia, and necrosis. Giant Cell Arteritis: inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the superficial temporal artery Superficial Temporal Artery Giant Cell Arteritis. Superficial temporal arteritis Temporal arteritis Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a type of large-vessel vasculitis that predominantly affects the aorta and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Giant cell arteritis is defined by inflammatory leukocytes in the vessel walls leading to reactive damage, ischemia, and necrosis. Giant Cell Arteritis results in a severe throbbing headache Headache The symptom of pain in the cranial region. It may be an isolated benign occurrence or manifestation of a wide variety of headache disorders. Brain Abscess in the affected side of the head with scalp tenderness overlying it. Temporal arteritis Temporal arteritis Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a type of large-vessel vasculitis that predominantly affects the aorta and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Giant cell arteritis is defined by inflammatory leukocytes in the vessel walls leading to reactive damage, ischemia, and necrosis. Giant Cell Arteritis is typically treated with NSAIDs NSAIDS Primary vs Secondary Headaches or steroids Steroids A group of polycyclic compounds closely related biochemically to terpenes. They include cholesterol, numerous hormones, precursors of certain vitamins, bile acids, alcohols (sterols), and certain natural drugs and poisons. Steroids have a common nucleus, a fused, reduced 17-carbon atom ring system, cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene. Most steroids also have two methyl groups and an aliphatic side-chain attached to the nucleus. Benign Liver Tumors. If untreated, temporal arteritis Temporal arteritis Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a type of large-vessel vasculitis that predominantly affects the aorta and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Giant cell arteritis is defined by inflammatory leukocytes in the vessel walls leading to reactive damage, ischemia, and necrosis. Giant Cell Arteritis can result in blindness Blindness The inability to see or the loss or absence of perception of visual stimuli. This condition may be the result of eye diseases; optic nerve diseases; optic chiasm diseases; or brain diseases affecting the visual pathways or occipital lobe. Retinopathy of Prematurity.

References

  1. Drake, R.L., Vogl, A.W., Mitchell, A.W.M. (2014). Gray’s Anatomy for Students (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone.
  2. Sethi, D., Gofur, E.M., Munakomi, S. (2021). Anatomy, Head and Neck, Carotid Arteries. [Updated 2021 Feb 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK545238/
  3. Vijaywargiya, M., et al. (2017). Anatomical study of petrous and cavernous parts of internal carotid artery. Anatomy and Cell Biology, 50(3):163.

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