The aorta is a large blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It leaves the heart, arches upward, then travels down through the chest and into the abdomen.

The aorta has two main portions:

  • The thoracic portion of the aorta travels through the chest and supplies blood to the upper body.
  • The abdominal portion of the aorta travels through the abdomen and supplies blood to the lower body.

Current as of: March 12, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & David C. Stuesse, MD - Cardiac and Thoracic Surgery