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Other Terms: Brachiocephalic trunk, Innominate artery, Truncus brachiocephalicus, Tronc brachio-céphalique
The brachiocephalic artery is the first and largest of the branches of the aortic arch. It is also the shortest of these vessels. From its origin at the beginning of the aortic arch, it passes upward and lateral to the upper margin of the right sternocIavicular joint. Posterior to this joint, it divides into the right common carotid and right subclavian arteries. It lies posterior to the right side of the manubrium sterni, the lowest part of the sternohyoid and sternothyroid muscles. It also lies posterior to the remains of the thymus gland, the left brachiocephalic vein, the right inferior thyroid vein, and the right inferior cervical cardiac branch of the vagus nerve. The right inferior thyroid vein and the left brachiocephalic vein cross the artery near its origin. It crosses obliquely anterior to the trachea. Upon its left side are the root of the left common carotid, the remains of the thymus gland, the trachea, and the right inferior thyroid vein near the bifurcation of the artery. Upon its right side are the right brachiocephalic vein, the right vagus nerve, and the pleura. The brachiocephalic artery gives off no branches.