The Coronary Microcirculation

  • John Grayson
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 62)


It is still standard teaching that coronary arteries are “end-arteries”, that is to say that each main coronary vessel has its own discrete territory of supply and that in the normal functioning heart such anastomoses as exist are without function. Yet, it has long been known that liberal inter and intra arterial communications exist anatomically. Gregg (1950) quotes an illustration from Lower dating back to 1670. Thebesius (1708) gave a clear description of epicardial arterial — arterial anastomoses. More recently, Spaltenholtz (1907) reaffirmed the existence in human heart of rich anastomoses in all layers and between all sizes of vessel. There have been other views. Brown (1965) maintained that all vessels less than 100 m in diameter were end-arteries and more recently Kirk (1980) proposed that capillary beds themselves are circumscribed and form independent non-communicating arborizations.


Coronary Circulation Transmural Pressure Coronary Artery Ligation Coronary Collateral Oxygen Extraction Ratio 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • John Grayson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologyUniversity of TorontoCanada

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