Aorta, descending: The descending aorta is the part of the aorta, the largest artery in the body, that runs down through the chest and the abdomen. The descending aorta starts after the arch of the aorta and ends by splitting into two great arteries (the common iliac arteries) that go to the legs.
The descending aorta, by convention, is subdivided into the thoracic aorta and the abdominal aorta.
The thoracic aorta, the part of the aorta that runs from the arch of the aorta to the diaphragm, gives off numerous branches that supply oxygenated blood to the chest cage and the organs within the chest.
The other part of the descending aorta, the abdominal aorta, is the final section of the aorta. It begins at the diaphragm as a continuation of the thoracic aorta and runs down to where the aorta ends (by splitting into the two leg arteries). The abdominal aorta supplies oxygenated blood to all of the abdominal and pelvic organs and the legs.
Like other sections of the aorta (the ascending aorta and aortic arch), the descending aorta is an arbitrary anatomic entity. The aorta is one continuous conduit that stems from the left ventricle of the heart to carry blood to most of the body. The descending aorta is nonetheless a hallowed and convenient division of the aorta.
The descending aorta is known in medical Latin variously as the aorta descendens and the pars descendens aortae (under which headings it is often concealed in print medical dictionaries).
- Aorta, thoracic
Aorta, thoracic: The thoracic aorta is a section of the aorta, the largest artery in the body, within the chest. Specifically, the thoracic aorta is that part of the aorta that starts after the arch of the aorta and runs down to the diaphragm, the great muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen. The […]
Aortal: Pertaining to the aorta, the largest artery in the body. Aortal is not often encountered (except in The New York Times crossword). The preferred term is aortic.
Aortic: Pertaining to the aorta, the largest artery in the body. “Aortic” is in common usage as, for example, in an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The term “aortal” has the same meaning but is rarely encountered (except in The New York Times crossword).
- Aortic aneurysm
Aortic aneurysm: An outpouching (a local widening) of the largest artery in the body, the aorta, involving that vessel in its course above the diaphragm (thoracic aortic aneurysm) or, more commonly, below the diaphragm (abdominal aortic aneurysm). The diagnosis of an aortic aneurysm can be straight forward or difficult. Around 1900 the eminent physician William […]
- Aortic arch
Aortic arch: The second section of the aorta following the ascending aorta. As it continues from the heart, it gives off the brachiocephalic trunk, and the left common carotid and subclavian arteries. The brachiocephalic trunk splits to form the right subclavian and the right common carotid arteries, which supply blood to the right arm and […]