ORIGIN: Begins at the aortic sinuses.
COURSE/DISTRIBUTION: This is the largest artery in the body. It begins its journey from the aortic sinuses which separates it from the aortic vestibule- the smooth outflow channel of the left ventricle. It then ascends for a short distance – a portion known as ascending aorta,- to the right and behind the pulmonary trunk. It forms an arch at the level of the sternal angle of Louis which is placed at the imaginary plane running from the manubrosternal junction to the junction between vertebrae T4 and 5. The arch runs posterior and slightly to the left and ends at the same plane of sternal angle at the back. This is the beginning of the descending aorta. This runs a downward course close to the vertebral bodies, initially to the left of the bodies but slightly inclining towards the median plane at the aortic opening in the diaphragm. On the left it is accompanied by the oesophagus which is to the right, and the inferior vena cava, which joins it at the level of T7. The descending aorta ends at the aortic opening at the level of T12 in front of the diaphragmatic median arcuate ligament, where the thoracic arota escapes into the abdomen and becomes the abdominal aorta.
The abdominal aorta continues its downward accompanied by the inferior vena cava which lies to its right to the anterior aspect of L4 where it divides into its two terminal branches – common iliac arteries.
BRANCHES: Given are given under the following divisions of the aorta.