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Carotid artery facts for kids

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Common carotid artery
The common carotid artery arises directly from the aorta on the left and as a branch of the brachiocephalic trunk on the right.
Blausen 0170 CarotidArteries.png
The common carotid artery and its main branches
Latin Arteria carotis communis
Vein internal jugular vein
Precursor aortic arch 3

In anatomy, the left and right common carotid arteries (carotids) are arteries that supply the head and neck with oxygenated blood; they divide in the neck to form the external and internal carotid arteries.


The common carotid arteries are present on the left and right sides of the body. These arteries originate from different arteries but follow symmetrical courses. The right common carotid originates in the neck from the brachiocephalic trunk; the left from the aortic arch in the thorax. These split into the external and internal carotid arteries at the upper border of the thyroid cartilage, at around the level of the fourth cervical vertebra.

The left common carotid artery can be thought of as having two parts: a thoracic (chest) part and a cervical (neck) part. The right common carotid originates in or close to the neck and contains only a small thoracic portion. There are studies in the bioengineering literature that have looked into characterizing the geometric structure of the common carotid artery from both qualitative and mathematical (quantitative) standpoints.

The average diameters of the common carotids in adult males and females are 6.5 mm and 6.1 mm respectively.

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