Anterior interventricular branch of left coronary artery

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Anterior interventricular branch of left coronary artery
Sternocostal surface of heart. (Anterior descending branch labeled at upper right.)
Latin ramus interventricularis anterior arteriae coronariae sinistrae
Supplies anterolateral myocardium, apex, interventricular septum, 45-55% of the left ventricle (LV)
left coronary artery
septals, diagonals
Gray's p.547
TA A12.2.03.202
FMA FMA:3862
Anatomical terminology

The "LAD", or left anterior descending artery (or anterior interventricular branch of the left coronary artery, or anterior descending branch), also known as the "widow maker", is an artery of the heart.[1]


It passes at first behind the pulmonary artery and then comes forward between that vessel and the left auricula to reach the anterior interventricular sulcus, along which it descends to the incisura apicis cordis.

In 78% of cases, it reaches the apex of the heart.


It supplies the anterolateral myocardium, apex, and interventricular septum. The LAD typically supplies 45-55% of the left ventricle (LV).


The LAD gives off two types of branches: septals and diagonals.

  • Septals originate from the LAD at 90 degrees to the surface of the heart, perforating and supplying the anterior 2/3rds of the interventricular septum.
  • Diagonals run along the surface of the heart and supply the lateral wall of the left ventricle and the anterolateral papillary muscle.
Tight, critical stenosis (95%) of the proximal LAD in a patient with Wellens' Warning

"The Widowmaker"[edit]

Because the LAD provides much of the bloodflow for the left ventricle, which in turn provides much of the propulsive force for ejecting oxygenated blood to systemic circulation via the aorta, blockage of this artery is particularly associated with mortality. In the medical community an ischemic heart attack associated with this blood vessel is colloquially called "the widow maker".

Additional images[edit]


  1. ^ Topol, Eric J.; Califf, Robert M. (2007). Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 283. ISBN 9780781770125. Retrieved 6 November 2014. The most worrisome type is the proximal left anterior descending (LAD) MI, often referred to as the widow-maker infarction, which carries a high mortality and is attributed to an occlusion of the LAD before or at the first septal perforator. 

This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.

External links[edit]