Aorta

The largest artery in the body. It carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to vessels that reach the rest of the body.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

Diagram of the aorta and types of aortic aneurysm Click to enlarge

The aorta and types of aortic aneurysm National Institutes of Health

Pulmonary and systemic circulation of the blood Click to enlarge

Blood circulation between the heart and lungs, and into the body Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG)

Illustration of a cross-section of a healthy human heart, including the heart valves. Click to enlarge

The inside of the heart, showing blood flow: red for oxygen-rich blood and blue for oxygen-poor blood National Institutes of Health

About the Aorta

Arteries carry blood away from the heart. All systemic arteries are branches, either directly or indirectly, from the aorta.

The aorta ascends from the left ventricle, curves posteriorly and to the left, then descends through the thorax and abdomen.

This geography divides the aorta into three portions: ascending aorta, aortic arch, and descending aorta.

The descending aorta is further subdivided into the thoracic aorta and abdominal aorta.
NIH - National Cancer Institute

Terms to know

Abdomen
The area between the chest and the hips containing the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen.
Abdominal Aorta
The descending aorta has two parts. The aorta begins to descend in the thoracic cavity, and is known as the thoracic aorta. After the aorta passes through the diaphragm, it is known as the abdominal aorta.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Enlargement and ballooning of the vessel that supplies arterial blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs.
Aortic Aneurysm
Enlargement (dilation) of the aorta to greater than 1.5 times normal size.
Aortic Arch
The part of the aorta between the ascending and descending aorta.
Aortic Valve
A valve that is located between and controls the flow of blood from the left ventricle of the heart and the aorta.
Arteries
A blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to tissues and organs in the body.
Ascending Aorta
The ascending aorta begins in the left ventricle of the heart. The aorta starts as the ascending aorta then travels from the heart and makes a hairpin turn known as the aortic arch. The aorta then travels as the descending aorta.
Atria
The chambers of the heart, to which the blood returns from the circulation.
Capillaries
The smallest of the body's blood vessels. Oxygen and glucose pass through capillary walls and enter the cells. Waste products such as carbon dioxide pass back from the cells into the blood through capillaries.
Deoxygenated Blood
Oxygen-poor blood.
Descending Aorta
The part of the aorta beginning at the aortic arch that runs down through the chest and abdomen. The descending aorta consists of two segments, the thoracic and the abdominal aorta.
Heart
The hollow, muscular organ that maintains the circulation of the blood.
Heart Ventricles
The lower right and left chambers of the heart.
Inferior Vena Cava
A large vein that empties into the heart. It carries blood from the legs and feet and from organs in the abdomen and pelvis.
Interventricular Septum
Interventricular septum is the stout wall separating the lower chambers (the ventricles) of the heart from one another.
Kidney
One of a pair of organs in the abdomen. The kidneys remove waste and extra water from the blood (as urine) and help keep chemicals (such as sodium, potassium, and calcium) balanced in the body. The kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure and stimulate bone marrow to make red blood cells.
Lungs
One of a pair of organs in the chest that supplies the body with oxygen, and removes carbon dioxide from the body.
Mitral Valve
Valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart.
Oxygenated Blood
Oxygen-rich blood.
Posterior
In human anatomy, has to do with the back of a structure, or a structure found toward the back of the body.
Pulmonary Artery
The pulmonary artery and its branches deliver blood rich in carbon dioxide (and lacking in oxygen) to the capillaries that surround the air sacs.
Pulmonary Circulation
The circulation of the blood through the lungs.
Pulmonary Valve
A valve that is located between, and controls the flow of blood from, the right ventricle of the heart and the pulmonary artery.
Pulmonary Veins
The veins that return the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.
Superior Vena Cava
The large vein that carries blood from the head, neck, arms, and chest to the heart.
Systemic Circulation (Blood Circulation)
Systemic circulation is the part of the cardiovascular system which carries oxygenated blood away from the heart to the body, and returns deoxygenated blood back to the heart.
Thoracic Aorta
The aorta is an artery that conveys oxygenated blood from the heart to other parts of the body. The thoracic aorta is part of the aorta. It becomes the abdominal aorta when it passes through the diaphragm.
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
The "ballooning" of the upper aspect of the aorta, above the diaphragm.
Thoracic Cavity
The cavity enclosed by the ribs between the diaphragm and the neck, and containing the lungs and heart.
Thorax
Having to do with the chest.
Tricuspid Valve
The valve consisting of three cusps situated between the right atrium and right ventricle of the heart.
Vena Cava
A large vein which returns blood from the head, neck and extremities to the heart.

Terms to know

Abdomen
The area between the chest and the hips containing the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gall...
Abdominal Aorta
The descending aorta has two parts. The aorta begins to descend in the thoracic cavity, and is known as the t...
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Enlargement and ballooning of the vessel that supplies arterial blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs....
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