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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Sympathetic Division: Superior Cardiac Nerve

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus III: Nervous System: Sympathetic Division

Superior Cardiac Nerve

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

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The superior cardiac nerve (a branch from the superior cervical ganglion) may be absent, particularly on the right side. In such cases, it is replaced by a branch from the vagus or from the external laryngeal nerve. The nerve may not have a separate course, but may be a part of another cardiac nerve from one of the other cervical ganglia.

Variations in the course of the other cervical nerves are common. A pretracheal branch arising from the communication between the superior cardiac nerve and the recurrent laryngeal nerve has been reported. It descends on the trachea and terminates in the pericardium and anterior pulmonary plexus.

A ganglion (so-called temporal ganglion) is sometimes found as a part of the external carotid artery plexus near the point of origin of the posterior auricular artery. It may be about 2 mm in length. It has been reported to receive nerve fibers from the stylohyoid branch of the facial nerve.

Image 73A Image 73B Image 73C Image 73D Image 73E Image 73F


Cruveilhier, J. (1851) Traité d'Anatomie Descriptive, 3rd ed., G. Doin & Cie., Paris.

Ellison, J.P. and T.H. Williams. (1969) Sympathetic nerve pathways to the human heart and their variations. Am. J. Anat. 124:149-162.

Henle, J. (1868) Handbuch der Systematischen Anatomie des Menschen. von Friedrich Vieweg und Sohn, Baunschweig.

Jackson, C.M., Ed. (1933) Morris' Human Anatomy, 9th ed., P. Blakiston's Son & Co., Inc., Philadelphia.

Jamieson, R.W., Smith, D.B. and B.J. Anson. (1952) The cervical sympathetic ganglia. An anatomical study of 100 cervicothoracic dissections. Q. Bull. Northwestern University Medical School 26:219-227.

Kopsch, F. (1908) Rauber's Lehrbuch der Anatomie des Menschen. Georg Thieme, Leipzig.

Latarjet, A. (1948) Testut's Traité d'Anatomie Humain, 9th ed., G. Doin & Cie., Paris.

Monteiro, H. et A. Rodrigues. (1931) Sur le variation du nerf vertebral. Assoc. Anatomistes Comptes Rendus 26:406-419.

Schaefer, E.A., Symington, J. and T.H. Bryce., Eds. (1915) Quain's Anatomy, 11th ed., Longmans, Green, and Co., London.

See Also References cited for the Third and Fourth Sacral Nerves.

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