Femoral Artery

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Several arteries originate from the femoral artery, including the following (Figure 36-4A and B):

Deep artery of the thigh (profunda femoris artery). The largest branch of the femoral artery. The deep artery of the thigh branches posteriorly in the femoral triangle and travels between the adductor longus and brevis muscles and the adductor longus and magnus muscles. Perforating branches of the deep artery of the thigh pierce through the adductor magnus muscle and are the major supplier of blood to the three compartments of the thigh. Distally, the deep artery of the thigh anastomoses with branches of the popliteal artery. Other branches that originate from the deep artery of the thigh include the following:

• Lateral circumflex femoral artery. Branches from the lateral side of the deep artery of the thigh (sometimes directly from the femoral artery) and travels laterally to branch into ascending, transverse, and descending branches.

• Ascending branch. Ascends deep to the tensor fasciae latae muscle and connects with the medial femoral circumflex artery.

• Transverse branch. Pierces the vastus lateralis muscle and wraps around the proximal shaft of the femur to anastomose with other vessels (i.e., medial femoral circumflex artery) to supply blood to the proximal femur and hip.

• Descending branch. Descends laterally and pierces the vastus lateralis muscle. The descending branch distally connects with the popliteal artery.

• Medial circumflex femoral artery. Branches medially from the deep artery of the thigh (may branch from femoral artery) and passes around the shaft of the femur. The medial circumflex femoral artery and branches of the lateral circumflex femoral artery supply the hip joint.

The main trunk of the femoral artery follows the adductor canal distally. It travels through an opening in the distal attachment of the adductor magnus (adductor hiatus) muscle and enters the popliteal fossa (posterior to the knee) to become the popliteal artery.

V Coronary angioplasty is a procedure that is frequently performed on patients who have obstructed blood flow to the heart musculature or who are experiencing a myocardial infarction. The femoral triangle allows easy access to a major blood vessel, the femoral artery. Because of the easy access, small balloons can be threaded through the femoral artery, at the femoral triangle, to coronary vessels in the heart. The balloon is then expanded to open the blood vessel. ▼

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