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What Is the Aortic Root?

A diagram of the aorta.
The aortic root is located near the center of the human heart.
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  • Written By: Marisa O'Connor
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 06 October 2014
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The aortic root, also called the ascending aorta, is an essential part of the functioning human heart. It is located near the center of the heart, at the beginning of the arch-shaped aorta. It serves to collect the oxygenized blood pumping out of the left ventricle and passed down through the descending aorta into the rest of the body.

The function of the aortic root is to collect and provide a passageway for the outflow of blood from the left ventricle of the heart. The root carries the filtered, oxygenated blood from the heart through the aortic arch and out and down the descending aorta. From the descending aorta, the blood travels from various arteries to the rest of the body.

The aortic root is the first section of the aorta, which is the largest artery in the human body. It is located within the chest cavity, behind the left half of the sternum. The root of the aorta begins at the aortic annulus, where the right and left coronary artery connect to the aorta, and ends at the limit of pericardium. It is enclosed within the pericardium, which is a protective sac containing the heart and major arteries.

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The root makes up quite a large portion of the middle upper half of the heart. It is located to the right of the right auricle and the superior vena cave and the the left of the pulmonary artery. The aortic root sits just below the left innominate vein and above the large right ventricle, which makes up nearly the entire bottom half of the heart.

The aortic root is also called the ascending aorta because it is the ascending portion of the arch-shaped aorta. The aorta proceeds to curve upward, where the arch of the aorta begins and the root ends. The limit of pericardium is the dividing line between the ascending aorta and the arch of aorta. After the apex of the arch of aorta, it curves back downward, becoming the descending aorta.

There is a bulge in the artery wall where the aortic root meets the aortic arch at the limit of pericardium. This bulge creates an oval shape that occurs only at this part of the artery. The bulge is caused by an increase in the caliber of blood vessels within the artery walls. This region of the aorta is termed the bulb of the aorta.

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