artery

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artery,

blood vessel that conveys blood away from the heartheart,
muscular organ that pumps blood to all parts of the body. The rhythmic beating of the heart is a ceaseless activity, lasting from before birth to the end of life. Anatomy and Function

The human heart is a pear-shaped structure about the size of a fist.
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. Except for the pulmonary artery, which carries deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs, arteries carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the tissues. The largest arterial trunk is the aortaaorta
, primary artery of the circulatory system in mammals, delivering oxygenated blood to all other arteries except those of the lungs. The human aorta, c.1 in. (2.54 cm) in diameter, originates at the left ventricle of the heart.
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, branches of which divide and subdivide into ever-smaller tubes, or arterioles, until they terminate as minute capillariescapillary
, microscopic blood vessel, smallest unit of the circulatory system. Capillaries form a network of tiny tubes throughout the body, connecting arterioles (smallest arteries) and venules (smallest veins).
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, the latter connecting with the veinsvein,
blood vessel that returns blood to the heart. Except for the pulmonary vein, which carries oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart, veins carry deoxygenated blood. The oxygen-depleted blood passes from the capillaries to the venules (small veins).
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 (see circulatory systemcirculatory system,
group of organs that transport blood and the substances it carries to and from all parts of the body. The circulatory system can be considered as composed of two parts: the systemic circulation, which serves the body as a whole except for the lungs, and the
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). Other important arteries are the subclavian and brachial arteries of the shoulder and arm, the carotid arteries that lead to the head, the coronary arteries that nourish the heart itself, and the iliac and femoral arteries of the abdomen and lower extremities. The walls of the large arteries have three layers: a tough elastic outer coat, a layer of muscular tissue, and a smooth, thin inner coat. Arterial walls expand and contract with each heartbeat, pumping blood throughout the body. The pulsating movement of blood, or pulsepulse,
alternate expansion and contraction of artery walls as heart action varies blood volume within the arteries. Artery walls are elastic. Hence they become distended by increased blood volume during systole, or contraction of the heart.
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, may be felt where the large arteries lie near the body surface.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

artery

[′ärd·ə·rē]
(anatomy)
A vascular tube that carries blood away from the heart.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

artery

any of the tubular thick-walled muscular vessels that convey oxygenated blood from the heart to various parts of the body
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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