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Aorta Anatomy

Introduction

The aorta is the largest and most important artery in the human body, acting as the first station for oxygenated blood before it distributes it to the rest of the body. It originates from the left ventricle of the heart and is divided into ascending aorta, arch of aorta, and descending aorta.

In this tutorial, we will look closer at the anatomy of each part of this magnificent artery.

Ascending Aorta

The image descriptionascending aorta is the first portion of the aorta. It arises from the base of the left ventricle, and measures around 5cm in length. It begins immediately at the opening of the aortic valve with dilation called the aortic sinus, from which  the left and right coronary arteries arise.

In illustration showing aorta and its main branches
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches with the ascending aorta highlighted in green
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Arch of Aorta

The image descriptionarch of aorta is a continuation of the ascending aorta as it goes superiorly, posteriorly, and to the left. It gives rise to the following three major branches:

  1. image descriptionBrachiocephalic trunk (which gives rise to the right common carotid artery and the right subclavian artery).
  2. image descriptionLeft common carotid artery.
  3. image descriptionLeft subclavian artery.
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches with the arch highlighted in green
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches with the brachiocephalic trunk highlighted in green
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches with the left common carotid artery highlighted in green
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches with the left left subclavian artery highlighted in green
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Descending Aorta

The descending aorta is further divided into the image descriptionthoracic aorta, which gives rise to the intercostal arteries and subcostal arteries among many others, and the image descriptionabdominal aorta which gives rise to all the arteries supplying the abdominal and pelvic viscera, including the celiac trunk, mesenteric arteries, suprarenal arteries, and image descriptionrenal arteries. It ends by bifurcating into the left and right image descriptioncommon iliac arteries.

In illustration showing aorta and its main branches
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches with the descending thoracic aorta highlighted in green
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches with the descending abdominal aorta highlighted in green
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches with the left renal arteries highlighted in green
In illustration showing aorta and its main branches with the common iliac arteries highlighted in green
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Test Yourself

Aorta quiz with no label
Aorta quiz with labels
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