The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. It is an artery that directly develops from the heart itself and comes down through the thorax and into the abdominal area. All the arteries of the body, conserve the pulmonary arteries, stem from the aorta or one of its primary branches. This post intends to highlight the course of the aorta from its origins up until the primary branches in both the thoracic and abdominal cavities. It should be kept in mind that there are three ways of methodically approaching the aorta and each of these finding out techniques will be discussed here.
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Aorta Function in Human Body
The Regional Approach
This is the most easy way of dividing the aorta and its branches, nevertheless it is recommended that unless you are an experienced anatomist, among the other methods ought to be looked at first, for clarity. Here, the aorta and its primary branches are divided into the thoracic aorta and the abdominal aorta, which take place to be separated by the diaphragm.
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The Seven Sections Approach
This is the most intricate of the three methods, however for very first time trainees it is detailed and will give any anatomist a solid base of aortic knowledge. The aorta is divided up into 7 sections which are listed below:
- The aortic valve which is located in the posterior superior wall of the left ventricle;
- The aortic root which exists in between the aortic valve and the sinotubular junction;
- The ascending aorta which can be seen in between the sinotubular junction and the brachiocephalic artery, which is the largest of the aortic branches. It is the only part of the vessel that does not give any branches;
- The aortic arch or transverse aorta gives three branches which supply the head and upper limbs. They are the brachiocephalic artery, the typical carotid artery and the left subclavian artery;
- The descending thoracic aorta runs between the left subclavian artery and the first branch of the abdominal aorta which is the celiac artery. It is positioned posteriorly in the thorax, close to the vertebral column to which it provides a blood supply;
- The abdominal aorta begins with the celiac artery and continues with the superior mesenteric artery, the left and right renal arteries and the inferior mesenteric artery. It supplies all the significant organs of the abdomen;
- The thoracoabdominal aorta is the last area, which starts at the level of the last abdominal branch and ends at the bifurcation of the aorta into the left and right typical iliac arteries;
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The Aortic Directions Approach
This last approach is both basic but detailed. It is based on the directions of the aorta, its ascension, arch and descending part, without any regard for which somatic region it is in or what significant branches are formed. It does however lack sufficient information about the abdominal path of the aorta and because of that it is recommended that this approach ends up being a secondary means if not combined with the seven sections method.
- The rising aorta begins at the aortic valve and surfaces at the level of the second right sternocostal joint.
- The aortic arch begins from completion of the previous section and continues to rise into an arch which goes to the left of the mediastinum. It can be found in front of the right pulmonary artery and the bifurcation of the trachea. It surpasses the base of the right lung and finishes at the level of the thoracic vertebra T4.
- The descending aorta begins at the level of the T4 vertebra and comes down on the left side of the thoracic vertebrae from T5 until T12. It runs behind the base of the left lung and the pericardium, entering the abdominal area by means of the aortic hiatus of the diaphragm when it reaches T12. Its branches include the bronchial artery, the pericardial artery, the superior phrenic artery, the esophageal artery, the posterior intercostal artery and the subcostal artery.
What is the function of the aorta?
The aorta is a large blood vessel that branches off from the heart and pumps oxygen-rich blood back into the body. The aorta brings blood away from the left ventricle and circulates it into the systemic circuit. The systemic circuit are the vessels in between the aortic semilunar valve and the entrance to the right atrium.
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Oxygenated blood gets in the body through capillary networks surrounding the alveoli of the lungs. Alveoli, air-filled pockets with barriers thin enough to permit oxygen to pass through, oxygenate the blood diminished of oxygen and absorb co2 for expulsion through the lungs. An exchange takes place at the alveoli, which moves fresh oxygen from the lungs to the blood and co2 from the blood to the alveoli. The function of the aorta is to pump this brand-new oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle of the heart, where the oxygenated blood is transferred, and circulate it back into the body.
The shape of the aorta helps with blood circulation. It has 4 main sections: the ascending aorta, the aortic arch, the descending thoracic aorta and the abdominal aorta. The ascending aorta starts at the semilunar valve of the left ventricle and connects to the coronary arteries. The aortic arch curves like a cane and connects the rising aorta and coming down aorta. The coming down aorta is an extension of the aortic arch and is divided into the two areas: the thoracic aorta and the abdominal aorta.