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Heart Health Center

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Human Anatomy


Picture of the Arteries

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© 2014 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

The arteries are the blood vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the tissues of the body. Each artery is a muscular tube lined by smooth tissue and has three layers:

  • The intima, the inner layer lined by a smooth tissue called endothelium
  • The media, a layer of muscle that lets arteries handle the high pressures from the heart
  • The adventitia, connective tissue anchoring arteries to nearby tissues

The largest artery is the aorta, the main high-pressure pipeline connected to the heart's left ventricle. The aorta branches into a network of smaller arteries that extend throughout the body. The arteries' smaller branches are called arterioles and capillaries. The pulmonary arteries carry oxygen-poor blood from the heart to the lungs under low pressure, making these arteries unique.

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