The largest artery in the body, the aorta arises from the left ventricle of the heart, goes up (ascends) a little ways, bends over (arches), then goes down (descends) through the chest and through the abdomen to where ends by dividing into two arteries called the common iliac arteries that go to the legs. Anatomically, the aorta is traditionally divided into the ascending aorta, the aortic arch, and the descending aorta. The descending aorta is, in turn, subdivided into the thoracic aorta (that descends within the chest) and the abdominal aorta (that descends within the belly). The aorta gives off branches that go to the head and neck, the arms, the major organs in the chest and abdomen, and the legs. It serves to supply them all with oxygenated blood. The aorta is the central conduit from the heart to the body.
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A large artery of the elastic type that is the main trunk of the systemic arterial system, arising from the base of the left ventricle and ending at the left side of the body of the fourth lumbar vertebra by dividing to form the right and left common iliac arteries. The a. is subdivided into: ascending a.; aortic arch; and descending a., which is in turn, divided into the thoracic a. and the abdominal a.. SYN: arteria a.. [Mod. L. fr. G. aorte, from aeiro, to lift up]
- abdominal a. [TA] the part of the descending a. that supplies structures below the diaphragm. SYN: pars abdominalis aortae [TA], a. abdominalis, abdominal part of a..
- a. abdominalis abdominal a..
- a. angusta congenital narrowness of a..
- a. ascendens ascending a..
- ascending a. [TA] the part of the a. prior to the aortic arch from which arise the coronary arteries. SYN: pars ascendens aortae [TA], a. ascendens, ascending part of a..
- buckled a. SYN: pseudocoarctation.
- descending a. [TA] a part of the a., further divided into the thoracic a. and the abdominal a.. SYN: pars descendens aortae [TA], a. descendens, descending part of a..
- dynamic a. abnormally marked pulsations of a..
- kinked a. SYN: pseudocoarctation.
- overriding a. a congenitally malpositioned a. whose origin straddles the ventricular septum and so receives ejected blood from the right ventricle as well as from the left; it is found especially in tetralogy of Fallot.
- primitive a. the paired aortic primordia in young embryos.
- pseudocoarctation of the a. a rare abnormality of the arch of the a. that constricts that vessel but is not a true coarctation in that there is no significant encroachment on the lumen.
- shaggy a. a colloquial but fitting description for severe arterial degeneration of the a., the surface of which is extremely friable and likely to cause atheroembolism.
- thoracic a. [TA] the part of the descending a. that supplies structures as far down as the diaphragm. SYN: pars thoracica aortae [TA], a. thoracica, thoracic part of a..
- a. thoracica thoracic a..
- ventral aortas the paired vessels ventral to the pharynx, which give rise to the aortic arches.

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aor·ta ā-'ȯrt-ə n, pl -tas or -tae the large arterial trunk that carries blood from the heart to be distributed by branch arteries through the body

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n. (pl. aortae or aortas)
the main artery of the body, from which all others derive. It arises from the left ventricle (ascending aorta), arches over the top of the heart (see aortic arch) and descends in front of the backbone (descending aorta), giving off large and small branches and finally dividing to form the right and left iliac arteries. The part of the descending aorta from the aortic arch to the diaphragm is called the thoracic aorta; the part below the diaphragm is the abdominal aorta.
aortic adj.

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aor·ta (a-orґtə) pl. aortas, aorґtae [L., from Gr. aortē] [TA] the main trunk from which the systemic arterial system proceeds. It arises from the left ventricle of the heart; passes upward (pars ascendens aortae or ascending aorta), bends over (arcus aortae or aortic arch), and then proceeds downward (pars descendens aortae or descending aorta); the latter is divided into an upper, thoracic part (pars thoracica aortae) and a lower, abdominal part (pars abdominalis aortae). At about the level of the fourth lumbar vertebra it divides into the two common iliac arteries. aortal aortic adj

Aorta, arising from the left ventricle, ascending, arching, then descending through the thorax to the abdomen, where it divides into the common iliac arteries.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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