The Aorta: Very Basic Anatomy
Basic anatomy article for the aorta blood vessel
Date : 06/04/2021
The aorta is the main artery leading out from the left
ventricle of the heart muscle. Its purpose is to deliver oxygenated blood to
the body s tissues, having received oxygenated blood from left ventricle, via
the left atrium, via the pulmonary veins. If we were to look at a cross section
of the aorta, we would see concentric tissue rings similar to the rings of a
tree trunk. There are three main muscular layers of the blood vessel starting
on the outside, we have the tunica adventitia , then the tunica media and
the innermost muscular layer is the tunica intima . Lining the tunica intima
is the endothelium, a thin layer of cells which interact with the blood which
flows through the true lumen of the aorta (similar to how water flows through
a hosepipe). The aorta loops up ( ascending aorta ) and around the back of the
heart muscle (into the descending aorta which serves the trunk and lower limbs),
with the initial loop known as the aortic arch there are three main vessels
which exit from this arching structure. The first of these vessels is called
the brachiocephalic trunk ( brachio- = arms cephalic- = head), which shortly
bifurcates into the right subclavian artery ( subclavian meaning under the clavicle
this artery goes under the collar bone to supply the right upper limb with
blood) and the right carotid artery (which supplies the brain). The second vessel
of the aortic loop is the left carotid artery, also supplying the brain with
blood. The third and final vessel of the aortic arch is the left subclavian
artery, supplying the left upper limb. The descending aorta possesses many branched
blood vessels which supply target organs and tissues with oxygenated blood.
Common pathologies of the aorta include aortic aneurysm, in which there is an
abnormal bulge of this major blood vessel, and aortic dissection, in which the
tunica intima and tunica media muscular tissue layers become separated by an abnormal
influx of blood, creating a dangerous false lumen .
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