The aorta, after having passed the diaphragm is thus named. It rests on the bodies of the vertebras, extending from the front of the last dorsal to the fourth lumbar vertebra, a little to the left of the median line, where it usually divides. The anterior surface of the great artery is successively in apposition with the liver, the splenic vein, the pancreas, the third portion of the duodenum, the left renal vein, and the peritoneum. The vena cava lies at its right side, the right crus of the diaphragm being interposed at the upper part of the abdomen ; close to the same side, are the thoracic duct and the azygos vein, which are placed between the aorta and the right crus of the diaphragm. The aorta is surrounded by a mesh of nerves derived from the sympathetic.
The abdominal aorta, [aorta abdominalis, French : aorte abdominale], gives numerous branches, which may be divided into two sets, viz., those which supply the viscera and and those which are distributed to the walls of the abdomen. The former consist of the coeliac artery, the superior mesenteric , the inferieur mesenteric, the capsular, the renal, and the spermatic arteries ; which among the latter are included the phrenic, the lumbar, and the middle sacral arteries. The first three of the visceral branches are single arteries.
The superior mesenteric artery (french : artère mésentérique supérieure) arises from the anterior surface of the aorta, on the middle line, at 2 cm below the origin of the coeliac artery, nearly at the level of the disc between the second and third lumbar, vertebras.
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The femoral artery (femoralis s. cruralis ; French: artère fémorale ), is that portion of the artery of the lower limb which lies along the upper two-thirds of the thigh, — its limits being marked, above, by Poupart's ligament, and below, by the opening in the great adductor muscle, after passing through which the artery assumes the name popliteal.
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The circumflex iliac artery [Latin : circumflexa ilii], smaller than the preceding vessel, arises from the outer side of the iliac artery near Poupart's ligament, and is directed outwards behind that structure to the anterior superior spine of the ilium.
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The external circumflex artery, [circumfiexa femoris interna s. posterior,] a branch of considerable size, arises from the outer side of the profunda, and, after passing outwards for a short distance beneath the sartorius and rectus muscles, and through the divisions of the anterior crural nerve, gives branches, which may be divided into three sets, according to the directions which they take.
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The coronary artery of the stomach (coronaria ventriculi ; French : coronaire stomachique), the smallest of the three visceral branches derived from the coeliac artery, inclines upwards, and to the left side, to reach the cardiac orifice of the stomach.
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Frequent mention has been made of the anastomoses which exist between the branches of the arteries in the lower limb ; and a general view of them may now be taken in order that some idea may be formed of the important influence which they exert in maintaining the circulation of the limb, when the principal artery is obliterated by an operation, or by disease.
It may be remarked, in the first place, that the more important of these anastomoses occur in the neighbourhood of the principal articulations of the limb.
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The coeliac artery, [a. coeliaca, French : tronc cœliaque] , a short and very thick vessel, arises from the aorta close to the margin of the diaphragm. In the erect position of the body its direction is nearly horizontal forwards, and it is not more than half an inch long.
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The obturator artery [a.obturatoria], when derived from the internal iliac, usually arises from the anterior division of that vessel, but not infrequently from its posterior division. The artery is directed forwards through the pelvis to reach the groove on the under surface of the horizontal portion of the pubes, at the upper part of the thyroid foramen. Beneath this bone it passes out of the pelvis, and immediately divides into its terminal branches. In its course through the pelvis the artery is placed between the pelvic fascia and the peritoneum, a little below the obturator nerve. Beneath the pubes it lies with the nerve in an oblique canal, formed partly by the groove in the bone, and partly by fibrous tissue.
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