What Is the Function of the Subclavian Arteries?

The subclavian arteries are two major blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the upper limbs and chest of the body. Both the left and right subclavian arteries lie underneath the clavicle, also known as the collar bone.

The left subclavian artery branches directly from the aorta, the largest artery in the body. The aorta curves above the heart before running down the front of the backbone. The brachiocephalic artery, also known as the brachiocephalic trunk or innominate artery, is much shorter than the aortic arch and splits into two to form the right subclavian artery and the right common cartoid artery. The brachiophalic artery is the first branch of the aortic arch and supplies blood to the brain and head through the right common cartiod artery.

The left subclavian artery supplies blood to the left arm, while the right subclavian artery supplies blood to the right arm, with some branches also supplying blood to the head and chest. Arteries can differ in size as they branch off to supply oxygenated blood to the body. Smaller arteries are known as arterioles, and the largest artery is known as the aorta. The aorta is the origin of all branches that transport blood away from the heart.

All arteries, except pulmonary arteries, carry oxygenated blood. There is a high amount of pressure in arteries because of the pumping of the heart, and this pressure, also known as a pulse, can be felt when a major artery lies close to the surface of the skin and crosses over a bone. The radial artery, a branch of either sublclavian artery, is located on the wrist and is often used by medical professionals to check the pulse of adults.