Abdominal Aorta

Human anatomy > Circulatory System > Abdominal Aorta

While there are many blood vessels that can be found in the abdominal cavity, the abdominal aorta is the largest and most important artery that can be found in this part of the human anatomy. It is directly connected to the descending aorta and is considered as part of the aorta. This is a key component of the human circulatory system, and observing how it works can lead to a deeper understanding of how the blood circulates throughout the body.

Abdominal Aorta

Finding where the abdominal aorta is located relative to the other major veins and arteries of the circulatory system is relatively easy. The abdominal aorta can be found on the left side of the inferior vena cava. The abdominal aorta also runs parallel with respect to the inferior vena cava. As the abdominal aorta goes down, it gradually narrows in diameter as smaller arteries branch off to the other parts of the abdomen. As you go down the length of the abdominal aorta, you will find that the diameter of the artery at the level of the 11th rib is around 25mm. As you reach the renal arteries, the diameter now decreases to 22mm. This goes down to 20mm as you pass the renal arteries and decreases even further to 19mm towards the bifurcation of the artery. Considering the fact that the abdominal aorta supplies blood to many major organs and body parts in the abdominal area, it is easy to see its significance in the human circulatory system as a whole.

The abdominal aorta starts out nearly at the same level as the diaphragm. It is located behind the diaphragm and it crosses the aortic hiatus near the T12 vertebral level. From there, it goes down in the anterior section of the vertebral column and the posterior wall of the abdomen while following the general curve of the lumbar vertebrae. Technically speaking, this means that the abdominal aorta travels down the body convex anteriorly. The convexity of the abdominal aorta will also reach its peak at the L3 level of the third lumbar vertebra.

It is a relatively well-known fact that arteries take oxygenated blood away from the heart and to the rest of the body, while the veins bring oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. This is exactly how the human circulatory system works, and the abdominal aorta is one of the most important arteries in the entire human body. If something were to happen to your abdominal aorta, then you will experience multiple organ failure in a short period of time and you may die soon after.

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