The ascending aorta is the beginning portion of the largest blood vessel in your body. It carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your aorta. Your two main coronary arteries branch off of the ascending aorta.
The ascending aorta is the first part of the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel in your body. It comes out of your heart and pumps blood through the aortic arch and into the descending aorta. The aorta plays an essential role as the main “pipe” supplying blood to your entire body. The ascending aorta is the first portion of this pipe as it exits your heart.
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The aorta carries oxygenated blood from the left ventricle (one of your heart’s four chambers) to the rest of your body. The ascending aorta is the first part closest to your heart. This portion has two small branches. These are the major coronary arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.
The aorta is the pipe that helps oxygenated blood get from your heart to every part of your body — from your brain to your digestive tract.
The ascending aorta sits atop the left ventricle on the left side of your heart. It extends up and over the heart. It’s located in your chest right behind the “breastbone” (sternum).
The entire aorta looks a bit like a cane. The ascending aorta is the first and shortest part of the aorta. It moves in an upward direction until it becomes the aortic arch, which would be the cane’s handle. From the arch, the aorta moves downward through the chest and abdomen.
The ascending aorta is about 5 to 8 centimeters (or close to 2 to 3 inches) long. It’s about 3 to 4 centimeters wide. The aorta gradually narrows as it moves down through the chest.
The entire aorta divides into two parts: the thoracic aorta and the abdominal aorta. The ascending aorta, along with the aortic arch and the descending aorta, makes up the thoracic aorta.
The ascending aorta begins right after the left ventricle of the heart and contains the aortic heart valve, which is a flap that opens and closes to allow blood to enter the aorta from the left ventricle. The ascending aorta ends right before the brachiocephalic artery, which is the first branch off the aortic arch.
The ascending aorta has two parts:
Like the rest of the aorta, the ascending aorta has three layers of tissue:
The most common problems that can develop in the ascending aorta include:
If you’ve been diagnosed with an ascending aortic condition or any heart problem, contact your doctor right away if you notice any new symptoms or your existing symptoms get worse.
Seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms, as they could be signs of a ruptured aneurysm:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
The ascending aorta is the first section of your aorta, the largest blood vessel in your body. It’s attached to your heart and plays an essential role in helping your heart deliver oxygen-rich blood to your entire body. Problems in the ascending aorta, such as ruptured aneurysms, can be life-threatening. If you have a family history of heart problems, or you’re over the age of 65, talk to your healthcare provider about reducing your risk for problems in your ascending aorta.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/20/2021.
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