The aorta is the main artery that carries blood away
from the heart.
Blood is pumped from the left
ventricle of the heart (via the aortic
valve) into the aorta.
After ascending (passing upwards) for a short distance, the aorta arches
backward and to the left side. It then passes over the root of the left
lung before progressing downwards
thorax on the left side of the vertebral column. Then it passes into
the abdominal cavity, through the aortic hiatus in the diaphragm, and
terminates opposite the lower border
of the fourth lumbar vertebra where it divides into the
right and left common iliac arteries.
To view a diagram showing the position of major veins and arteries,
visit the page about