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Arteries: Histology

Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Each of these types of arteries contain 3 primary layers: the tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. In particular, the tunica media contains smooth muscle cells (allowing for vasoconstriction Vasoconstriction The physiological narrowing of blood vessels by contraction of the vascular smooth muscle. Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure), and in the larger vessels, a significant amount of elastin (allowing these vessels to stretch and recoil in response to changes in pressure during systole Systole Period of contraction of the heart, especially of the heart ventricles. Cardiac Cycle and diastole Diastole Post-systolic relaxation of the heart, especially the heart ventricles. Cardiac Cycle).

Last updated: Aug 15, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body.

General characteristics

All arteries have the following characteristics:

  • Thicker walls with smaller lumens than veins Veins Veins are tubular collections of cells, which transport deoxygenated blood and waste from the capillary beds back to the heart. Veins are classified into 3 types: small veins/venules, medium veins, and large veins. Each type contains 3 primary layers: tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia. Veins: Histology 
  • Appear round on histology
  • Are resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing vessels: 
    • Create most of the resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing in the circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment
    • High-pressure system
    • Can regulate vascular resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing and blood flow Blood flow Blood flow refers to the movement of a certain volume of blood through the vasculature over a given unit of time (e.g., mL per minute). Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure velocity by contracting or relaxing the smooth muscle within their walls 
  • Vessels for the transport of flowing blood: The blood passes through arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy) and ending in the smallest (the arterioles) before entering the capillary beds Capillary beds Groups of 10–100 individual capillary vessels supplied by a single metarteriole. Capillaries: Histology.

Layers of the Vessel Wall

All arteries have the same basic structure and are made up of three primary layers: the tunica intima, tunica media, and tunica adventitia (also known as tunica externa).

Structure of an artery wall

Structure of an artery wall

Image: “Structure of an artery wall” by Phil Schatz. License: CC BY 4.0
Cross section of artery and vein

Cross section of artery and vein

Image: “Types of Arteries and Arterioles” by Phil Schatz. License: CC BY 4.0, edited by Lecturio.

Tunica intima

  • Made up of:
    • A single layer of endothelial cells (simple, squamous epithelial cells)
    • Small amounts of fibrous Fibrous Fibrocystic Change connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology
  • Functions:
    • Acts as a selectively permeable barrier
    • Secretes vasoactive substances
    • Provides a smooth lining to the blood vessel, preventing aggregation Aggregation The attachment of platelets to one another. This clumping together can be induced by a number of agents (e.g., thrombin; collagen) and is part of the mechanism leading to the formation of a thrombus. Coagulation Studies of platelets Platelets Platelets are small cell fragments involved in hemostasis. Thrombopoiesis takes place primarily in the bone marrow through a series of cell differentiation and is influenced by several cytokines. Platelets are formed after fragmentation of the megakaryocyte cytoplasm. Platelets: Histology and/or RBCs RBCs Erythrocytes, or red blood cells (RBCs), are the most abundant cells in the blood. While erythrocytes in the fetus are initially produced in the yolk sac then the liver, the bone marrow eventually becomes the main site of production. Erythrocytes: Histology when intact
  • Endothelium appears wavy owing to constriction of the smooth muscle.
  • Vascularized by direct diffusion Diffusion The tendency of a gas or solute to pass from a point of higher pressure or concentration to a point of lower pressure or concentration and to distribute itself throughout the available space. Diffusion, especially facilitated diffusion, is a major mechanism of biological transport. Peritoneal Dialysis and Hemodialysis from the lumen
  • In capillaries Capillaries Capillaries are the primary structures in the circulatory system that allow the exchange of gas, nutrients, and other materials between the blood and the extracellular fluid (ECF). Capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels. Because a capillary diameter is so small, only 1 RBC may pass through at a time. Capillaries: Histology: This is the only layer present in the vessel wall.
  • In larger vessels: There is an internal elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology membrane separating the tunica intima from the tunica media.

Tunica media

Tunica adventitia

  • Also called the tunica externa
  • Made up of connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology
    • Collagenous and elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology fibers
    • Merges with connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology surrounding neighboring vessels, nerves, and organs
  • Functions:
    • Strengthens the vessel wall
    • Anchors the vessel
  • Innervated by tiny nerves known as nervi vasorum
  • Vascularized by tiny vessels known as vasa vasorum

Types of Arteries

There are 3 primary types of arteries, based on their overall size, function, and composition (known as segmental differentiation). The arteries generally exist on a continuum, with gradual changes in vessel morphology moving down the arterial tree.

The 3 primary types of arteries are:

  • Large elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology arteries (also known as conducting arteries)
  • Medium muscular arteries (also known as distributing arteries)
  • Small arteries and arterioles
Types of arteries and arterioles

3 primary types of arteries

Image: “Types of Arteries and Arterioles” by Phil Schatz. License: CC BY 4.0
Intraluminal pressures of different vessels

Intraluminal pressures of different vessels

Image by Lecturio.

Large/ elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology arteries

This group includes the largest arteries in the body; all large/ elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology arteries are close to the heart. The aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy is the largest artery in the body.

Large/ elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology arteries include: 

Characteristics:

  • Large lumens
  • Tunica intima includes a subendothelial Subendothelial Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis layer containing additional smooth muscle.
  • Many elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology fiber networks within the media
  • Recoil: Vessels can stretch and return to their original shape after receiving the stroke volume Stroke volume The amount of blood pumped out of the heart per beat, not to be confused with cardiac output (volume/time). It is calculated as the difference between the end-diastolic volume and the end-systolic volume. Cardiac Cycle of blood ejected by the left ventricle during systole Systole Period of contraction of the heart, especially of the heart ventricles. Cardiac Cycle.
  • Effects of stretching and recoil on blood pressure:
    • Minimizes changes in blood pressure downstream during systole Systole Period of contraction of the heart, especially of the heart ventricles. Cardiac Cycle
    • Maintains blood pressure during diastole Diastole Post-systolic relaxation of the heart, especially the heart ventricles. Cardiac Cycle
  • Windkessel function:
    • During systole Systole Period of contraction of the heart, especially of the heart ventricles. Cardiac Cycle, the vessel walls stretch, enabling blood that is ejected during systole Systole Period of contraction of the heart, especially of the heart ventricles. Cardiac Cycle to be momentarily “stored.”
    • During diastole Diastole Post-systolic relaxation of the heart, especially the heart ventricles. Cardiac Cycle, the vessel walls recoil, and this “retracting force” moves the stored blood forward to the periphery.

Medium muscular arteries

  • Primary role: distribution of blood to the organs
  • Also known as distributing arteries
  • Tunica media has a predominance of smooth muscle:
    • Average 25–40 layers of smooth muscle (approximately ¾ of the wall thickness) 
    • Significant ability to vasoconstrict and vasodilate, resulting in significant ability to regulate blood flow Blood flow Blood flow refers to the movement of a certain volume of blood through the vasculature over a given unit of time (e.g., mL per minute). Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure
  • These arteries are more distant from the heart than large arteries.
  • Most “named” blood vessels, which are not large are medium muscular arteries (e.g., brachial, femoral, and splenic arteries).

Small arteries and arterioles

  • These vessels are usually not named.
  • Most of these vessels can be observed only under magnification.
  • Also known as resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing vessels
  • Relatively little elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology tissue
  • The tunica media is thick in proportion to its lumen relative to other arteries.
  • Small arteries: 
    • Have up to 25 layers of smooth muscle
    • Small arteries narrow toward the capillary network and become arterioles.
  • Arterioles:
  • Metarterioles:
    • Short vessels linking arterioles and capillaries Capillaries Capillaries are the primary structures in the circulatory system that allow the exchange of gas, nutrients, and other materials between the blood and the extracellular fluid (ECF). Capillaries are the smallest of the blood vessels. Because a capillary diameter is so small, only 1 RBC may pass through at a time. Capillaries: Histology
    • Have precapillary sphincters Precapillary Sphincters Capillaries: Histology: individual smooth muscle cells encircling the entrance to a capillary, regulating blood flow Blood flow Blood flow refers to the movement of a certain volume of blood through the vasculature over a given unit of time (e.g., mL per minute). Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure to the capillary beds Capillary beds Groups of 10–100 individual capillary vessels supplied by a single metarteriole. Capillaries: Histology

Clinical Relevance

Vasculitides Vasculitides Vasculitides are a group of conditions characterized by vasculitis, ischemia, and damage to the organs supplied by the affected vessels. The affected arteries are of different sizes and locations and vary by the type of vasculitis. Vasculitides

Vasculitides Vasculitides Vasculitides are a group of conditions characterized by vasculitis, ischemia, and damage to the organs supplied by the affected vessels. The affected arteries are of different sizes and locations and vary by the type of vasculitis. Vasculitides are a group of autoimmune conditions characterized by immune-mediated blood vessel inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation and wall damage. Loss of vessel integrity can lead to bleeding, as well as to downstream ischemia Ischemia A hypoperfusion of the blood through an organ or tissue caused by a pathologic constriction or obstruction of its blood vessels, or an absence of blood circulation. Ischemic Cell Damage and necrosis Necrosis The death of cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury or failure of the blood supply. Ischemic Cell Damage. These processes can be primary or secondary, and they tend to affect only vessels of a specific type or in a specific location.

Table: Classification of vasculitides Vasculitides Vasculitides are a group of conditions characterized by vasculitis, ischemia, and damage to the organs supplied by the affected vessels. The affected arteries are of different sizes and locations and vary by the type of vasculitis. Vasculitides
Category of vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Examples of conditions in each category
Large-vessel vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Takayasu arteritis
  • Giant cell arteritis Giant Cell Arteritis Giant cell arteritis (GCA), also known as temporal arteritis, is a type of large-vessel vasculitis that predominantly affects the aorta and its major branches, with a predilection for the branches of the carotid (including the temporal artery). Giant cell arteritis is defined by inflammatory leukocytes in the vessel walls leading to reactive damage, ischemia, and necrosis. Giant Cell Arteritis
Medium-vessel vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Polyarteritis nodosa Polyarteritis nodosa A form of necrotizing non-granulomatous inflammation occurring primarily in medium-sized arteries, often with microaneurysms. It is characterized by muscle, joint, and abdominal pain resulting from arterial infarction and scarring in affected organs. Polyarteritis nodosa with lung involvement is called churg-strauss syndrome. Vasculitides
  • Kawasaki disease Kawasaki disease An acute, febrile, mucocutaneous condition accompanied by swelling of cervical lymph nodes in infants and young children. The principal symptoms are fever, congestion of the ocular conjunctivae, reddening of the lips and oral cavity, protuberance of tongue papillae, and edema or erythema of the extremities. Kawasaki Disease
  • Thromboangiitis obliterans Thromboangiitis Obliterans A non-atherosclerotic, inflammatory thrombotic disease that commonly involves small and medium-sized arteries or veins in the extremities. It is characterized by occlusive thrombosis and fibrosis in the vascular wall leading to digital and limb ischemia and ulcerations. Thromboangiitis obliterans is highly associated with tobacco smoking. Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger’s Disease) ( Buerger’s disease Buerger’s Disease A non-atherosclerotic, inflammatory thrombotic disease that commonly involves small and medium-sized arteries or veins in the extremities. It is characterized by occlusive thrombosis and fibrosis in the vascular wall leading to digital and limb ischemia and ulcerations. Thromboangiitis obliterans is highly associated with tobacco smoking. Thromboangiitis Obliterans (Buerger’s Disease))
Small-vessel vasculitis Small-Vessel Vasculitis Henoch-Schönlein Purpura
  • ANCA-associated vasculitis ANCA-associated vasculitis Antinuclear cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) includes granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA), microscopic polyangiitis (MPA), and eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis (EGPA). All 3 diseases cause life-threatening small-vessel vasculitis with a wide range of systemic manifestations, which can involve the lungs, kidneys, skin, and heart. Antineutrophil Cytoplasmic Antibody (ANCA)-Associated Vasculitis:
    • Microscopic polyangiitis Microscopic polyangiitis A primary systemic vasculitis of small- and some medium-sized vessels. It is characterized by a tropism for kidneys and lungs, positive association with anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies (ANCA), and a paucity of immunoglobulin deposits in vessel walls. Vasculitides
    • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis A multisystemic disease of a complex genetic background. It is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) leading to damage in any number of organs. The common features include granulomatous inflammation of the respiratory tract and kidneys. Most patients have measurable autoantibodies (antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) against myeloblastin. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis
    • Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis A multisystemic disease of a complex genetic background. It is characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis) leading to damage in any number of organs. The common features include granulomatous inflammation of the respiratory tract and kidneys. Most patients have measurable autoantibodies (antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies) against myeloblastin. Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis (Churg–Strauss syndrome)
  • Immune-complex vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus:
    • Anti– glomerular basement membrane Glomerular basement membrane The layer of extracellular matrix that lies between the endothelium of the glomerular capillaries and the podocytes of the inner or visceral layer of the bowman capsule. It is the product of these two cell types. It acts as a physical barrier and an ion-selective filter. Goodpasture Syndrome disease ( Goodpasture syndrome Goodpasture Syndrome Goodpasture syndrome, also known as anti-glomerular basement membrane (GBM) disease, is an autoimmune disease characterized by circulating antibodies directed against glomerular and alveolar basement membranes. Affected individuals present with symptoms of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis and alveolar hemorrhage. Goodpasture Syndrome)
    • Cryoglobulinemic vasculitis Cryoglobulinemic vasculitis Vasculitides
    • IgA IgA Represents 15-20% of the human serum immunoglobulins, mostly as the 4-chain polymer in humans or dimer in other mammals. Secretory iga is the main immunoglobulin in secretions. Immunoglobulins: Types and Functions vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (IgAV) (Henoch–Schönlein purpura)
Variable-vessel vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Behçet syndrome
  • Cogan syndrome
Single-organ vasculitis Vasculitis Inflammation of any one of the blood vessels, including the arteries; veins; and rest of the vasculature system in the body. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus
  • Primary CNS vasculitis Primary CNS vasculitis Inflammation of blood vessels within the central nervous system. Primary vasculitis is usually caused by autoimmune or idiopathic factors, while secondary vasculitis is caused by existing disease process. Clinical manifestations are highly variable but include headache; seizures; behavioral alterations; intracranial hemorrhages; transient ischemic attack; and brain infarction. Vasculitides
  • Cutaneous leukocytoclastic angiitis Cutaneous leukocytoclastic angiitis Disorder characterized by a vasculitic syndrome associated with exposure to an antigen such as a drug, infectious agent, or other foreign or endogenous substance. Its pathophysiology includes immune complex deposition and a wide range of skin lesions. Hypersensitivity or allergy is present in some but not all cases. Vasculitides
  • Isolated aortitis Isolated aortitis Vasculitides

Diseases involving abnormalities of the arterial walls (structure and/or function)

  • Hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension: elevated blood pressure, defined as > 130 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma Hg systolic or > 80 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma Hg diastolic: Hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension can result from either an increase in cardiac output Cardiac output The volume of blood passing through the heart per unit of time. It is usually expressed as liters (volume) per minute so as not to be confused with stroke volume (volume per beat). Cardiac Mechanics or from systemic vascular resistance Systemic vascular resistance Afterload is the resistance in the aorta that prevents blood from leaving the heart. Afterload represents the pressure the LV needs to overcome to eject blood into the aorta. Cardiac Mechanics. Vascular resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing is largely determined by the relative constriction and/or dilation of the arterial walls. Hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension is a risk factor for many secondary diseases, such as stroke, congestive heart failure Congestive heart failure Congestive heart failure refers to the inability of the heart to supply the body with normal cardiac output to meet metabolic needs. Echocardiography can confirm the diagnosis and give information about the ejection fraction. Congestive Heart Failure, myocardial infarction Myocardial infarction MI is ischemia and death of an area of myocardial tissue due to insufficient blood flow and oxygenation, usually from thrombus formation on a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque in the epicardial arteries. Clinical presentation is most commonly with chest pain, but women and patients with diabetes may have atypical symptoms. Myocardial Infarction, and chronic kidney disease Chronic Kidney Disease Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is kidney impairment that lasts for ≥ 3 months, implying that it is irreversible. Hypertension and diabetes are the most common causes; however, there are a multitude of other etiologies. In the early to moderate stages, CKD is usually asymptomatic and is primarily diagnosed by laboratory abnormalities. Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis is a common form of arterial disease in which lipid deposition forms a plaque in the blood vessel walls. Atherosclerosis is an incurable disease, for which there are clearly defined risk factors that often can be reduced through a change in lifestyle and behavior of the patient. Atherosclerosis: common form of arterial disease in which lipid deposition forms a plaque Plaque Primary Skin Lesions within large, medium, and small blood vessels throughout the body: Endothelial injury triggers Triggers Hereditary Angioedema (C1 Esterase Inhibitor Deficiency) deposition of lipids Lipids Lipids are a diverse group of hydrophobic organic molecules, which include fats, oils, sterols, and waxes. Fatty Acids and Lipids, release Release Release of a virus from the host cell following virus assembly and maturation. Egress can occur by host cell lysis, exocytosis, or budding through the plasma membrane. Virology of inflammatory molecules, smooth muscle hyperplasia Hyperplasia An increase in the number of cells in a tissue or organ without tumor formation. It differs from hypertrophy, which is an increase in bulk without an increase in the number of cells. Cellular Adaptation, and the increased formation of connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology in the region, ultimately giving rise to the atherosclerotic plaques. These plaques lead to narrowing of the vessel lumen, loss of elasticity Elasticity Resistance and recovery from distortion of shape. Skeletal Muscle Contraction, and reduced or obstructed blood flow Blood flow Blood flow refers to the movement of a certain volume of blood through the vasculature over a given unit of time (e.g., mL per minute). Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure. Ruptured plaques can become embolic, leading to acute end-organ damage.
  • Arteriosclerosis: condition involving hardening of the vessels and loss of their intrinsic elasticity Elasticity Resistance and recovery from distortion of shape. Skeletal Muscle Contraction: Arteriosclerosis is most commonly associated with hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension and diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease characterized by hyperglycemia and dysfunction of the regulation of glucose metabolism by insulin. Type 1 DM is diagnosed mostly in children and young adults as the result of autoimmune destruction of β cells in the pancreas and the resulting lack of insulin. Type 2 DM has a significant association with obesity and is characterized by insulin resistance. Diabetes Mellitus
  • Aortic aneurysm Aneurysm An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area of a blood vessel that causes an abnormal widening of its diameter > 1.5 times the size of the native vessel. Aneurysms occur more often in arteries than in veins and are at risk of dissection and rupture, which can be life-threatening. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms: abnormal dilation in the aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy resulting from a thinning and/or weakening of the aortic wall, causing it to bulge out: Aortic aneurysms may occur in the thoracic cavity (thoracic aortic aneurysms that affect primarily the ascending aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy) or in the abdominal cavity (abdominal aortic aneurysms). Rupture of an aortic aneurysm Aneurysm An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area of a blood vessel that causes an abnormal widening of its diameter > 1.5 times the size of the native vessel. Aneurysms occur more often in arteries than in veins and are at risk of dissection and rupture, which can be life-threatening. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms is a life-threatening emergency.

References

  1. Taylor, A.M., Bordoni, B. (2021). Histology, blood vascular system. In StatPearls. Retrieved April 26, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553217/ 
  2. Saladin, K.S., Miller, L. (2004). Anatomy and Physiology, 3rd ed., pp. 749–751). 
  3. Moore, K.L., Dalley, A.F. (2006). Clinically Oriented Anatomy, 5th ed., pp. 39–41).

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