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Aorta - Definition


The aorta is the principal artery in the human body. It leaves the left ventricle of the heart, passes by the thorax and the abdomen to branch out in the lower abdomen into two parts called the iliac arteries which lead into the lower extremities. The terms thoracic and abdominal aorta are used at different points along its route in relation to its anatomical position. All the arteries in the body issue directly or indirectly from the aorta, except the pulmonary artery. The function of the aorta is to distribute all the oxygenated blood to the lungs, thanks to blood circulation, and to the whole body and its organs. The principal disorders that affect the aorta are aneurysms and aortic dissection.