Aortic arch: The second section of the aorta following the ascending aorta. As it continues from the heart, it gives off the brachiocephalic trunk, and the left common carotid and subclavian arteries. The brachiocephalic trunk splits to form the right subclavian and the right common carotid arteries, which supply blood to the right arm and the right side of the neck and head. The left common carotid artery and left subclavian artery, the second and third branches off the aortic arch, perform parallel functions on the left side.
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016