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(āôr`tə), primary artery of the 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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 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 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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. After supplying the coronary arteries that nourish the heart itself, the aorta extends slightly toward the neck to feed branches serving the head and arms. It then arches down toward the waist, directing blood into the arterial system of the chest. Entering the abdomen through the aortic hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm, the aorta branches off to supply the stomach, kidneys, intestines, gonads, and other organs through extensive arterial networks. It finally divides into the two iliac arteries carrying blood to the legs. The elasticity of the aorta wall permits it to pulse in rhythm with the heartbeat, thus helping to propel blood through the body.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the main artery of the greater circulatory system, which supplies blood to all organs of the body.

The wall of the aorta consists of three membranes, that is, the interior (a layer of endothelial cells), intermediate (numerous rows of elastic fibers), and exterior (bundles of connective tissue fibers). Because of the elasticity of the aorta’s walls an uninterrupted flow of blood in the arteries is assured. In man, mammals, and birds, the aorta emerges from the left ventricle of the heart, forming an enlargement at its very beginning, called the aortic spindle, goes up (ascending aorta), turns back and to the left in man and mammals (arch of the aorta) and back and to the right in birds, and goes down (descending or dorsal aorta). In reptiles there are two aortic arches, that is, the right, or arterial, arch, emerging from the left ventricle of the heart; and the left, or venous, arch from the right ventricle. When they unite, they form a common aorta with mixed blood. In amphibians an arterial cone emerges from the only ventricle, and from it one pair (in ecaudates) or two pairs (in caudates) of aortic arches branch out, which form the dorsal aorta when they unite. In fishes and cyclostomes the ventricle passes into the abdominal aorta, which carries venous blood through the system of arterial arches into the gills (in fishes) and gill pouches (in cyclostomes). The blood which is oxygenated there is collected in the dorsal aorta. Of the invertebrates, mollusks and arthropods have aortas.


Ostroverkhov, G. E., D. N. Lubotskii, and Iu. M. Bomash. Kurs operativnoi khirurgii i topograficheskoi anatomii,2nd ed. Moscow, 1964.
Cole, W. H. Textbook of Surgery,8th ed. New York, 1963.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The main vessel of systemic arterial circulation arising from the heart in vertebrates.
(invertebrate zoology)
The large dorsal or anterior vessel in many invertebrates.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


the main vessel in the arterial network, which conveys oxygen-rich blood from the heart to all parts of the body except the lungs
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Fluid resistance values applied to time- variable simulation [14] Vessel Resistance (mmHg/L/min) Brachiocephalic 182.7 Left Common Carotid 230.7 Left Subclavian 878.6 219 Descending Aorta 25.85
Representative SPECT/CT image illustrates image analysis with the localization of the volume of the determined ROI in different imaging planes (axial, sagittal, and coronal), to correlate the SPECT date matched in this case to the descending aorta (red arrows depict the descending aorta) (a).
The descending aorta is not filled with contrast (circle 1: 70 HU, circle 2: 73 HU).
Hybrid repair of a Kommerell diverticulum associated with a right aortic arch and a left descending aorta. J Vasc Suig 2012;56:1727-1730.
According to the DeBakey system, type I originates in the proximal aorta and involves the whole aorta, type II involves only the ascending aorta, and type III involves only the descending aorta. In the Stanford classification system, type A is limited to the ascending aorta and type B involves the descending aorta.
Infundibular pulmonic stenosis, poststenotic dilation of the pulmonic trunk, and proximal main pulmonary arteries were identified, as well as a mild narrowing of the descending aorta compatible with aortic stenosis.
Contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) revealed wall thickening and stenosis of the descending aorta near of the aortic hiatus and main branches of the aorta.
Due to the complexity of the three-dimensional structure of the aorta, especially the aortic arch and descending aorta shape big differences, we need to set up aortic arch and descending aorta training set, respectively.
As recommended, transesophageal echocardiography should be performed in all patients at the start of surgery, that is, before sternotomy, to perform a complete cardiac interrogation, and to subsequently screen for atherosclerosis of the proximal ascending aorta and the descending aorta. No atherosclerosis of grade 3 or more of the descending aorta has a negative predictive value of 94% for the absence of severe atherosclerosis in the ascending aorta [3].
On the basis of the brachiocephalic trunks originating from the ascending aorta and these trunks having a diameter almost equal to that of the aorta in the flamingo, it is considered that two-thirds of the blood pumped by the heart is supplied to the pectoral muscles, head and wings by the ascending aorta, while one-third of the blood pumped by the heart is supplied to the body by the descending aorta. This phenomenon may demonstrate the high vascularisation capacity of the pectoral and brachial muscles of the flamingo, which is a migratory bird that can fly over long distances.
Under the guidance of transesophageal echocardiogaphy, the guiding wire entered descending aorta through arterial duct.
Cervicomediastinal vascular injuries are defined as arterial or venous injuries of the neck [carotids, subclavian (including its branches) and the proximal axillary artery], and mediastinum [ascending aorta, aortic arch (including its branches), descending aorta, the pulmonary artery and veins].