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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Upper Limb: Supreme Thoracic Artery

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Upper Limb

Supreme (Superior) Thoracic Artery

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The supreme (superior) thoracic is occasionally missing (10%, Poynter).

In 10% of cases the supreme thoracic provided a branch to the second intercostal space.

It may replace the pectoral branch of the thoracoacromial and may itself arise as a branch of the thoracoacromial artery (2.5%, Poynter).

When absent, it is represented by the lateral thoracic (0.5%) or by the thoracoacromial (2.5%).


Bergman, R.A., Thompson, S.A., Afifi, A.K. and F.A. Saadeh. (1988) Compendium of Human Anatomic Variation: Catalog, Atlas and World Literature. Urban & Schwarzenberg. Baltimore and Munich.

Bovero, A. (1907) Morphologie des arteres de la glande mammaire. Arch. Ital. Biol. 48:486-487.

DeGaris, C.F. and W.B. Swartley. (1928) The axillary artery in white and negro stocks. Am. J. Anat. 41:353-397.

Hitzrot, J.M. (1901) A composite study of the axillary artery in man. Johns Hopkins Hosp. Bull. 12:136-145.

Huelke, D.F. (1959) Variation in the origins of the branches of the axillary artery. Anat. Rec. 135:33-41.

P'an, Ming Tzu. (1940) The origin of the branches of the axillary artery in the Chinese. Am. J. Phys. Anthropol. 27:269-279.

Poynter, C.W.M. (1922) Congenital anomalies of arteries and veins of the human body with bibliography. The University Studies of the University of Nebraska. 22:1-106.

Trotter, M., Henderson, J.L., Gass, H., Brua, R.S., Weisman, S., Agress, H., Curtis, G.H. and E.R. Westbrook. (1930) The origins of branches of the axillary artery in Whites and in American Blacks. Anat. Rec. 46:133-137.

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