What is the largest artery in the human body?

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The human body is complex. This concept especially applies when we examine the cardiovascular system. The basic purpose of this system is to pump blood throughout the body. Blood vessels are an important part of the cardiovascular system, and arteries are the largest blood vessels. Arteries have the largest diameter and thickest walls of all blood vessels. So, what is the largest artery in the human body?

We'll explore this topic by examining arteries and identifying the largest arteries in the body. We'll show you where it is, what it does, and even tell you about the body's other major arteries!

What are arteries?

artery
The human body has several large arteries that carry blood.

© Tefi/Shutterstock.com

Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Of course, there are some exceptions to this definition, but it is a good working conceptualization of the purpose of arteries.

Arteries are the largest of all blood vessels in the body, and several of them can be found in the human body. However, arteries are not the vessels of last resort for transporting blood. From the arteries, blood flows into arterioles and then into capillaries, which carry blood to all parts of the body.

Capillaries also lead to small blood vessels called venules, which flow into veins and back to the heart.

anatomy of arteries

The outside of the artery is called the adventitia or adventitia, which is made up of elastic tissue and collagen fibers. The largest arteries in the body also have small blood vessels called vasa vasorum located in the adventitia.

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The next layer inward, called the media, is made up of smooth muscle cells, more elastic tissue, and collagen fibers. Muscle cells help blood vessels maintain their integrity in the face of high pressure.

The final layer of the artery is called the intima. This part of the artery is actually in contact with the flowing blood. The intima is composed of endothelial cells and collagen. Finally, the actual cavity in the artery is called the lumen. This is the part of the artery through which blood flows.

What is the largest artery in the human body?

aorta
The aorta is located near the top of the heart.

© pirke/Shutterstock.com

The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It originates in the left ventricle of the heart and helps distribute blood throughout the body. On average, the aorta in an adult is more than a foot long and about an inch in diameter at its widest point. However, the diameter of the aorta narrows as it approaches the pelvis.

The aorta has several segments and branches. From the left ventricle of the heart, the aorta ascends in a section called the ascending aorta. From there, it reaches the aortic arch, the portion of the artery that arches to the anatomical left.

The arteries branch off in this part of the aorta, ascending above the heart along with the left subclavian artery, the left common carotid artery, and the brachiocephalic trunk that emanates from it. The brachiocephalic trunk branches into the right subclavian artery and the right common carotid artery.

After the aortic arch and descends, the artery is called the descending aorta. From there, the aorta continues down the body to become the abdominal aorta. This part of the aorta branches into several different arteries that are much smaller in diameter than the widest part of the aorta.

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What are veins?

Now that we know the largest artery in the body, it is important to discuss the corresponding part of the artery. In most cases, the function of the veins is to bring deoxygenated blood back to the heart.

Of course, there are some exceptions to this definition. For example, the pulmonary veins are responsible for carrying oxygenated blood from the lungs to the heart. Still, the basic definition should help you understand the function of veins in the human body.

In most cases, the muscles of veins are not as strong as arteries and tend to be closer to the surface of the skin. Interestingly, many veins only allow blood flow in one direction. They have valves that prevent blood from flowing backwards.

What are the other major arteries in the body?

Although the aorta is the largest artery in the body, it is not the only large artery in the body. Check out some other major arteries you should know about. You'll be interested in the interconnections of the entire cardiovascular system!

main pulmonary artery

The diameter of the main pulmonary artery is approximately 1.1 inches or 2.72 centimeters. The main pulmonary artery splits into left and right main pulmonary arteries. They are responsible for transporting deoxygenated blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs.

subclavian artery

The subclavian arteries are a pair of arteries that branch off from the aortic arch. The left subclavian artery arises directly from the aortic arch, while the right subclavian artery arises from the brachiocephalic artery, which splits into the right subclavian artery and the right common carotid artery. The artery is about 1 centimeter or 0.39 inches in diameter.

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common femoral artery

The femoral artery supplies blood to the thigh and calf. The average diameter of the common femoral artery is approximately 0.98 centimeters or 0.38 inches.

common carotid artery

The common carotid arteries refer to the left or right common carotid arteries, which help supply oxygenated blood to the head. These large arteries are about 0.61-0.65 centimeters or about 0.25 inches in diameter

These are some of the largest arteries in the human body. They each supply valuable oxygenated blood to various parts of the body and are bulky.

The human body is a marvel, and it can only function so much due to the intricate blood vessels in its cardiovascular system. The aorta is especially interesting. The aorta is not only the largest artery in the body, but also the home of many other large arteries.

Of course, the cardiovascular system is much more complex than what we've established here. All definitions in this article are very simple, because the complexity of the human blood vessels cannot be overstated.

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