Arterial Supply

Arterial Supply

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The Blood Supply and Lymphatic Drainage of the Upper Limb

The blood supply and lymphatic drainage of the upper limb covers the arterial supply, venous drainage, and lymphatic drainage to the structures of the upper limb, including the hand, forearm, upper arm, and axilla. The arterial supply to the upper limb is provided by five main vessels: the subclavian, axillary, brachial, radial, and ulnar arteries. The subclavian, axillary, and brachial arteries are continuous with one another, with the brachial artery then bifurcating into the radial and ulnar arteries, which converge in the hand. These arteries provide oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to the muscles and other structures of the upper limb.

The venous drainage of the upper limb consists of both a deep and superficial system of veins, which drain deoxygenated blood back to the heart. The deep veins are anatomically closely related to the artery they correspond to, and the pulsating force of the artery assists in the movement of blood through the vein. On the other hand, the superficial veins are located superficial to the deep fascia of the upper limb. It is important to know the median cubital vein, as this is a common site for venepuncture.

The lymphatic drainage of the upper limb works to move tissue fluid, cellular debris, and plasma proteins away from the tissues, and also plays a large role in immunity. It works by any foreign objects entering the lymph of the upper limb will pass through its many lymph nodes, which house many immune cells. There are both superficial and deep lymph nodes; the superficial nodes are located alongside the superficial veins, while deep nodes are located mainly around the axilla.

In summary, the blood supply and lymphatic drainage of the upper limb consists of five main vessels providing arterial supply, a deep and superficial system of veins providing venous drainage, and both superficial and deep lymph nodes playing a key role in immunity. All of these systems interact to provide oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood, draining deoxygenated blood, and work together to defend the body against any foreign objects.

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