Understanding Your Vascular System

Interactive Map of your Veins and Arteries

To assist you in understanding the “highway” that is your vascular system, we have created an interactive map for your use in navigating the vessels that carry your blood. Click on a body part of our “tour guide” below to see an up-close look at the major arteries and veins in your body.

In general, arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood away from your heart, and veins carry oxygen-poor blood back to your heart.

There is one exception – your blood starts its trip through the vascular system on the right side of your heart with your pulmonary artery carrying oxygen-poor blood to your lungs where it exchanges carbon dioxide for oxygen. Then your pulmonary vein carries oxygen-rich blood back to your heart where it enters the left side of your heart to be pumped out to the rest of your body.

The main artery that carries blood away from your heart is the aorta. As your blood travels, it navigates through smaller and smaller blood vessels, reaching every cell in your body to drop off nutrients and pick up waste products and carbon dioxide.

The blood’s trip back to your heart is through your veins, passing through larger and larger ones as it goes, dropping off waste products at your liver before it eventually arrives back at the right side of your heart to start the trip all over again.