The renal artery is one of two blood vessels that leads off from the abdominal aorta to the kidney. The other blood vessel is the renal vein.
The renal artery carries blood to the kidneys from the abdominal aorta. This blood comes directly from the heart and is sent to the kidneys to be filtered before it passes through the rest of the body. Up to one-third of the total cardiac output per heartbeat is sent to the renal arteries to be filtered by the kidneys. Each kidney has one renal artery that supplies it with blood. The filtered blood then can exit the renal vein.