What are the great arteries and great vessels of the heart?
The collective term “great arteries” refers to the two main arteries that are located in the heart, which are the pulmonary artery and the aorta.
Similarly, the term “great vessels” refers to a collection of the heart’s largest vessels. Specifically, these are the superior vena cava, the inferior vena cava, and the pulmonary arteries, as well as the pulmonary veins and the aorta.
Sometimes the terms great arteries and great vessels are used interchangeably, although this is not technically correct.
What is the aorta?
The aorta, the body’s largest artery, is a blood vessel that transports oxygen-rich blood to the body from the left ventricle. It begins at the left ventricle chamber and extends downward to the abdominal region. It then splits into the common iliac arteries and branches out.
In medical sources, the aorta is normally described as having four sections, namely the ascending aorta, the aortic arch, the thoracic aorta, and the abdominal aorta.
What is the pulmonary artery?
The pulmonary artery is the second largest artery in the body. It is a blood vessel that carries deoxygenated blood to the right and left lungs from the right ventricle.
It begins at the right ventricle’s base and extends upward, splitting into two arteries (the left pulmonary artery and the right pulmonary artery) that branch into the corresponding lungs.
The pulmonary artery is the only artery (apart from umbilical arteries) that carries deoxygenated blood.
What is transposition of the great arteries?
In some people, the great arteries are transposed. When the positions of the aorta and the pulmonary artery are switched or reversed, this is known as transposition of the great arteries.
With this heart defect, the aorta usually connects to the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery connects to the left ventricle, changing circulatory function and depriving the body of oxygen.
Transposition of the arteries is rare but can be present at birth. It can cause serious problems.