Q:

What is the carotid artery?

A:

Quick Answer

The carotid arteries are two major blood vessels in the neck — one on either side. Each carotid artery branches into external and internal arteries. The external carotid artery supplies oxygenated blood to the face and neck, and the internal carotid artery supplies blood to the front of the brain.

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Full Answer

Carotid comes from the Greek karotides. Karotides is related to the words katotikos, meaning stupefying, and karos, meaning deep sleep. The Greeks most likely named the artery this because they knew that pressing firmly against the carotid artery would render someone unconscious because of the lack of oxygen getting to the brain, according to MedicineNet.

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