Human Anatomy and Physiology : Identifying Nerves and Blood Vessels

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Human Anatomy and Physiology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

Each region of the spine has a certain number of spinal nerves that extend from that region. Which of the following choices fails to match the spinal region to the number of spinal nerves originating from that region?

Possible Answers:

Twelve thoracic nerve

Five lumbar nerves

Five sacral nerves

Seven cervical nerves

Correct answer:

Seven cervical nerves

Explanation:

There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves: 8 cervical nerves, 12 thoracic nerves, 5 lumbar nerves, 5 sacral nerves and 1 coccygeal nerve.

Each nerve separates from the spinal cord and exits the spine through the intervertebral foramen found between adjacent vertebrae. The nerves innervate regions of the peripheral nervous system and relay information to and from the central nervous system.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

Which dermatome corresponds to the level of the umbilicus?

Possible Answers:

T4

L1

T10

T7

Correct answer:

T10

Explanation:

A dermatome is an area of skin innervated by the cutaneous branches of a single spinal nerve. When spinal nerves diverge from the spinal cord, they innervate regions of the periphery and serve to relay information between the periphery and central nervous system. T10 innervates tissue around the level of the umbilicus, or navel. The C4 spinal nerve innervates the top of the shoulder, T4 innervates the level of the chest, T7 innervates slightly lower at the level of the xiphoid process, and L1 innervates the inguinal region around the groin.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

Which vein drains the superficial lateral portion of the arm?

Possible Answers:

Basilic vein

Brachial vein

Cephalic vein

Axillary vein

Correct answer:

Cephalic vein

Explanation:

The arm has a few major veins that drain it. The brachial vein drains the deep portions of the arm, the basilic vein drains the medial superficial portion of the arm, and the cephalic vein drains the lateral superficial portion of the arm. The brachial and basilic veins join in the armpit (axilla) to form the axillary vein.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

Which artery supplies blood to the cerebellum and brainstem?

Possible Answers:

Posterior cerebral artery

Anterior cerebral artery

Basilar artery

External carotid artery

Correct answer:

Basilar artery

Explanation:

The vertebral arteries serve to supply blood to the posterior head. They also run into the skull and branch together into the basilar artery. This artery runs along the cerebellum and supplies it and the brain stem with oxygenated blood. 

Example Question #3 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

Which of the following arteries does not originate from the thoracic aorta?

Possible Answers:

Vertebral arteries

Esophageal arteries

Bronchial arteries

Intercostal arteries

Correct answer:

Vertebral arteries

Explanation:

The aorta has three crucial segments. The aortic arch is the beginning of the aorta, where it exits the left ventricle. Three blood vessels branch from the aortic arch: the brachiocephalic artery, the left subclavian artery, and the left common carotid artery. Around the T4 vertebra the aortic arch transitions into the thoracic aorta. The thoracic aorta has four major branches: the intercostal, bronchial, esophageal, and phrenic arteries. After the thoracic aorta, the vessel transitions into the abdominal aorta.

The vertebral arteries come off of the subclavian arteries, which branch off of the aortic arch (left) and brachiocephalic artery (right).

Example Question #4 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

You suspect that your dad has nerve damage in his hand. You ask him to make a fist, but he is unable to flex his lateral two digits or his thumb, instead producing the "papal sign." What nerve has been damaged?

Possible Answers:

Radial nerve

Superficial ulnar nerve

Median nerve

Deep ulnar nerve

Correct answer:

Median nerve

Explanation:

The recurrent branch of the median nerve innervates the lateral two lumbricals and the thenar muscles. Damage along any part of the median nerve will result in the "papal sign" when the patient is asked to make a fist.

The ulnar nerve divides into the deep and superficial branches when it terminates in the hand. The deep branch innervates the third and fourth lumbricals, while the superficial branch innervates the palmaris brevis. The radial nerve innervates several structures, including the biceps brachii and triceps brachii.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

A friend of yours sprained their ankle playing soccer and is using crutches to get around. She complains of a pins and needles sensation in her arm. What nerve is likely being compressed as a result of improperly fit crutches?

Possible Answers:

Ulnar nerve

Radial nerve

Musculocutaneous nerve

Median nerve

Correct answer:

Radial nerve

Explanation:

Compression of the radial nerve in the axilla due to poorly fitted crutches is also known as crutch palsy and causes the pins and needles described in the question.

The median and unlar nerves primarily serve to innervate the hand and wrist, while the musculocutaneous nerve is more involved with forearm movements at the elbow.

Example Question #6 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

Which nerve is the most important sensory nerve in the hand?

Possible Answers:

Digital branches of the median nerve

Deep branch of the ulnar nerve

Radial nerve

Superficial branch of the ulnar nerve

Correct answer:

Digital branches of the median nerve

Explanation:

The palmar digital branches of the median nerve are responsible for cutaneous innervation of the palmar side of the thumb, index finger, middle finger and half of the ring finger.

The superficial branch of the ulnar nerve innervates the palmaris brevis, while the deep branch of the ulnar nerve innervates the third and fourth lumbricals. The radial nerve innervates several structures including the biceps and triceps brachii.

Example Question #7 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

Which of the following muscle-nerve combinations is incorrect?

Possible Answers:

The opponens pollicis is innervated by the recurrent branch of the median nerve

The medial lumbrical is innervated by the digital branch of the median nerve

The dorsal interossei is innervated by the deep branch of the ulnar nerve

The palmaris brevis is innervated by the superficial branch of the ulnar nerve

Correct answer:

The medial lumbrical is innervated by the digital branch of the median nerve

Explanation:

The two medial lumbricals are innervated by the deep branch of the ulnar nerve. The lateral two lumbricals are innervated by the digital branches of the median nerve.

The other answer choices show correct muscle-nerve pairings.

Example Question #8 : Identifying Nerves And Blood Vessels

A 16-year old girl spent the weekend skiing in Vermont and now complains of weakness, as well as numbness and tingling, in her right leg and foot. She recalls falling a few times, but nothing out of the ordinary, and mentions that her ski boots seemed a little tight. Where do you expect her numbness and tingling to be?

Possible Answers:

Plantar surface of foot

First dorsal web space of foot

Lateral aspect of foot

Dorsum of foot

Medial aspect of leg

Correct answer:

Dorsum of foot

Explanation:

The skier likely compressed her superficial peroneal nerve which innervates the dorsum of the foot.

The superficial peroneal nerve wraps around the neck of the fibula and is a common site of compression when people cross their legs or wear high boots.

The plantar surface of the foot is innervated by the tibial nerve, which courses through the posterior leg. The lateral aspect of the foot is innervated by the sural nerve, which arises from the tibial nerve. The first dorsal web space of the foot is innervated by the deep peroneal nerve, which arises from the common peroneal nerve and runs in the anterior leg. The medial aspect of the leg is supplied by the saphenous nerve, which arises from the femoral nerve.

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