Coronary Arteries

The heart itself requires blood to work properly just like any other organ in the body. The normal coronary arteries serve the purpose of giving the heart muscle blood.  The coronary arteries originate from the aorta just above its takeoff from the heart. Normally there are 2 coronary arteries, the right and the left. The right coronary artery supplies blood to the right atrium, right ventricle, the bottom portion of the left ventricle, and the back part of the ventricular septum. The left coronary artery divides into 2 major branches: the left anterior descending and the circumflex. The left anterior descending supplies blood to the front and bottom of the left ventricle, as well as the front portion of the ventricular septum. The circumflex supplies blood to the left atrium and the back portion of the left ventricle. Venous blood draining from the heart muscle returns by way of the coronary veins to the coronary sinus which eventually drains into the right atrium.

Problems with the coronary arteries represent one of the major health issues in the United States today. Although coronary artery problems are extremely common in older individuals, fortunately they are very rare in children and teenagers. Symptoms such as chest pain are very infrequently caused by a heart or coronary artery problem in a child.

Abnormalities of the coronary arteries can potentially complicate surgical repair of certain congenital heart defects, for example tetralogy of Fallot or transposition of the great arteries. Finally, some children are born with congenital coronary artery anomalies, for example a coronary artery fistula or an anomalous coronary artery.

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