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About The Aorta

The aorta is the largest artery (blood vessel) in the body and is responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The aorta is made up of four parts beginning at the opening of the aortic valve at the top of the left ventricle of the heart:
  • The ascending aorta which extends up from the heart until it connects with the aortic arch. The coronary arteries branch off from the ascending aorta to supply the heart with blood.
  • The aortic arch which connects the ascending aorta and descending aorta and branches off into smaller arteries that carry blood to the head, neck and arms.
  • The descending thoracic aorta which begins at the end of the aortic arch and travels down through the chest providing blood to the muscles of the chest wall and spinal cord.
  • The abdominal aorta which begins at the diaphragm and provides blood to most of the major organs in the body. The abdominal aorta splits into the iliac arteries around the pelvis which supply blood to the legs and organs in the pelvis.

To schedule an appointment with the Heart and Vascular Institute, call 813-844-3900 or email