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Bronchial artery

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Bronchial arteries are systemic blood vessels which are distributed along and supply oxygenated blood to the bronchial tree. There are typically two left bronchial arteries (superior and inferior) and one right bronchial artery. The two left bronchial arteries commonly arise directly from the thoracic aorta, while the single right bronchial artery is more variable in origin. It may also arise directly from the thoracic aorta, however it commonly arises indirectly, either via one of the right posterior intercostal arteries (often the third), or from the superior left bronchial artery.  

The bronchial arteries normally run along and branch with the bronchi, terminating at the level of the respiratory bronchioles and anastomosing with branches of the pulmonary arteries. Along their course, the bronchial arteries supply oxygen and nutrients for the upper esophagus, structures in the root of the lung (including the large pulmonary vessels), the bronchial tree, connective tissue of the lungs, as well as the visceral pleura. The majority of the blood supplied by the bronchial arteries is returned to the heart through the pulmonary veins instead of the bronchial veins

Terminology English: Bronchial artery
Latin: Arteria bronchialis
Definition Systemic blood vessel which is distributed along and supplies oxygenated blood to the bronchial tree and connective tissue of the lungs.
Origin Right bronchial artery: variable (directly from thoracic aorta, indirectly via right third posterior intercostal artery or superior left bronchial artery)
Left bronchial arteries: thoracic aorta
Supply Esophagus, root of lung structures (including large pulmonary vessels), bronchial tree, connective tissue of lungs, visceral pleura

Learn more about the bronchial tree with this study unit (and article):

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