Carotid sinus

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Surface Markings of the Neck

This is a dilatation of the terminus of the common carotid artery or may form the beginning of theinternal carotid artery. Histologically it has a thin tunica media and thickened adventitia which contains numerous nerve endings from the glosspharyngeal nerve (IX). It functions as a reflex baroreceptor such that a rise in blood pressure causes slowing of the heart rate and dilatation of arterioles.

This reflex activity can be utilised in the technique of carotid sinus massage for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.