In human anatomy
, the internal thoracic artery
), previously known as the internal mammary artery
(a name still common among surgeons
), is an artery
that supplies the anterior chest wall
and the breasts
. It is a paired artery, with one running on each side of the body.
The internal thoracic artery arises from the subclavian artery near its origin.
It travels downward on the inside of the ribcage, approximately a centimeter from the sides of the sternum, and thus medial to the nipple.
It runs posterior to the internal intercostal muscles, but anterior to the transverse thoracic muscles.
It continues downward until it divides into the musculophrenic artery and the superior epigastric artery around the sixth intercostal space.
After passing the sixth intercostal space, the internal thoracic artery splits into the following two terminal branches:
Revascularization with the ITA
The internal thoracic artery is the cardiac surgeon's blood vessel
of choice for coronary artery bypass grafting
. The left ITA has a superior long-term patency to saphenous vein
grafts and other arterial grafts (e.g. radial artery
, gastroepiploic artery
) when grafted to the left anterior descending coronary artery
, generally the most important vessel, clinically, to revascularize.
- - Internal thoracic artery
Figures of ITA grafts