The great vessels that are connected to the heart can be divided into two categories: arteries and veins.
|You will see this labeled illustration in many places across the site. Click on any of the labels for a description of the specific part.||
There are two arteries attached to the heart: the aorta and the pulmonary artery.
The aorta extends from the left ventricle, taking oxygenated blood from away from the heart. This is the largest vessel of the entire body. The aorta is the first artery to receive the oxygenated blood which comes out of the left ventricle and all other arteries of the body branch out from it. Three arteries branch out from the top of the aortic arch and provide blood to the top of the body. The rest of the aorta descends downwards and branches out towards the different parts of the bottom half of the body.
The pulmonary artery extends from the right ventricle, taking deoxygenated blood away from the heart. The pulmonary "trunk" soon splits into two separate vessels, each carrying blood to a separate lung.Veins
There are two sets of veins attached to the heart: the superior and inferior vena cavae and the pulmonary veins.
The superior and inferior vena cavae (plural for vena cava) return deoxygenated blood from the top (superior) and bottom (inferior) parts of the body into the right atrium.
pulmonary veins return oxygenated blood from both of the lungs into the left
Check out the Clickable Heart to see the different parts of the heart.