The aorta is the largest artery of the body and carries arterial blood saturated with oxygen from your heart to the rest of the circulatory system. It is about an inch wide and has several sections:
- The Aortic Root, where blood first exits the heart. It starts with the aortic valve and contains the origins of the right and left coronary arteries.
- The Ascending Aorta is the portion of the aorta between the aortic root and the aortic arch.
- The Aortic Arch. Blood vessels from the aortic arch supply blood to your head and brain, spinal cord and arms.
- The Descending Aorta starts after the aortic arch and runs through the chest and abdomen. The descending thoracic aorta travels down through the chest. Its branches supply blood to the ribs, some chest structures and spinal cord.
- The Abdominal Aorta runs from the descending aorta down to just below the navel delivering blood to your intestines, liver, kidneys and other organs in your abdomen. From there, it splits into the arteries to your right and left legs.