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Artery

blood aorta heart carries

Artery, blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to other parts of the body. The two main arteries are the pulmonary artery and the aorta. The pulmonary artery carries blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs to be reoxygenated; the aorta, the main arterial vessel, carries oxygen-enriched blood to the body from the left side of the heart. The main arteries are quite large, the aorta being about the width of a garden hose (about 1 in/2.5 cm in diameter). Major arteries branch from the aorta to supply each limb and organ, dividing repeatedly down to the arterioles, which in turn supply the capillaries, located in body tissue. The structure of artery walls accounts for their strength and elasticity and makes them well suited to resisting the stress of the pulsating flow of blood.

See also: Arteriosclerosis.

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