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Arteries

A blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to tissues and organs in the body.

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

Diagram of the flow of blood through blood vessels Click to enlarge

The flow of blood through blood vessels 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)

About Arteries

The blood circulatory system (cardiovascular system) delivers nutrients and oxygen to all cells in the body. It consists of the heart and the blood vessels running through the entire body.

The arteries carry blood away from the heart; the veins carry it back to the heart.

The system of blood vessels resembles a tree: The "trunk," the main artery (aorta), branches into large arteries, which lead to smaller and smaller vessels. The smallest arteries end in a network of tiny vessels, the capillary network... Read more about the Arteries

Terms to know

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.
Arterioles
The smallest divisions of the arteries located between the muscular arteries and the capillaries.
Atria
The chambers of the heart, to which the blood returns from the circulation.
Blood
A tissue with red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and other substances suspended in fluid called plasma. Blood takes oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, and carries away wastes.
Blood Vessels
Tubes that carry blood to and from all parts of the body. The three main types of blood vessels are arteries, capillaries, and veins.
Brachial Artery
The major blood vessel of the upper arm.
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.
Carbon Dioxide
A colorless, odorless gas. It is a waste product made by the body. Carbon dioxide travels in the blood from the body's tissues to the lungs. Breathing out clears carbon dioxide from the lungs.
Cells
The basic subunit of any living organism; the simplest unit capable of independent life. Although there are some single-celled organisms, such as bacteria, most organisms consist of many cells that are specialized for particular functions.
Collagen
A fibrous protein found in cartilage and other connective tissue.
Deoxygenated Blood
Oxygen-poor blood.
Elastic Fiber (Elastin Fiber)
Elastic fibers (or yellow fibers) are found in connective tissue. Elastic fibers are "stretchable."
Endothelium
A single layer of thin flattened cells that lines internal body cavities.
Erythrocytes (Red Blood Cells)
A cell that carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
Heart
The hollow, muscular organ that maintains the circulation of the blood.
Heart Ventricles
The lower right and left chambers of the heart.
Lungs
One of a pair of organs in the chest that supplies the body with oxygen, and removes carbon dioxide from the body.
Oxygen
A colorless, odorless gas. It is needed for animal and plant life. Oxygen that is breathed in enters the blood from the lungs and travels to the tissues.
Oxygenated Blood
Oxygen-rich blood.
Peripheral Arteries
The arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs.
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 Veins
The veins that return the oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.
Smooth Muscle
Found in the walls of the hollow internal organs such as blood vessels, the gastrointestinal tract, bladder, and uterus. Smooth muscle cannot be controlled consciously and thus acts involuntarily. Smooth muscle contracts slowly and rhythmically.
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.
Tunica Externa (Tunica Adventitia)
The outermost tunica (layer) of a blood vessel. It is mainly composed of collagen. The collagen serves to anchor the blood vessel to nearby organs, giving it stability.
Tunica Intima
The inner most layer of the blood vessel wall. The consistency of the intima will vary depending on the type of blood vessel. It may contain collagen and elastic fibers.
Tunica Media
The middle layer of the blood vessel wall. It consists of smooth muscle and may include elastic tissue. Its thickness will depend on the type of vessel, thicker in arteries than in veins.
Veins
Blood vessels that carry blood to the heart.
Vena Cava
A large vein which returns blood from the head, neck and extremities to the heart.
Venules
The minute vessels that collect blood from the capillaries and join together to form veins.

Terms to know

Aorta
The largest artery in the body. It carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to vessels that reach the re...
Arterioles
The smallest divisions of the arteries located between the muscular arteries and the capillaries....
Atria
The chambers of the heart, to which the blood returns from the circulation....
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