Pulmonary artery

Pulmonary artery

The pulmonary arteries carry blood from the heart to the lungs. They are the only arteries (other than umbilical arteries in the fetus) that carry deoxygenated blood.

In the human heart, the pulmonary trunk (pulmonary artery or main pulmonary artery) begins at the base of the right ventricle. It is short and wide - approximately 5 cm (2 inches) in length and 3 cm (1.2 inches) in diameter. It then branches into two pulmonary arteries (left and right), which deliver deoxygenated blood to the corresponding lung.

Role in disease

Pulmonary hypertension occurs alone and as a consequence of a number of lung diseases. It can be a consequence of heart disease (Eisenmenger's syndrome) but equally a cause (right-ventricular heart failure); it also occurs as a consequence of pulmonary embolism and scleroderma. It is characterised by reduced exercise tolerance. Severe forms, generally, have a dismal prognosis.

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