Pulmonary artery

Pulmonary artery

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Latin truncus pulmonalis, arteria pulmonalis
Precursor truncus arteriosus
System Cardiovascular, Respiratory
right ventricle
Gray's p.543
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Anatomical terminology

The pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. It is one of the only arteries (other than the umbilical arteries in the fetus) that carries 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 Script error: No such module "convert". in length and Script error: No such module "convert". in diameter. It then branches into two pulmonary arteries (left and right), which deliver deoxygenated blood to the corresponding lung.[citation needed]


The pulmonary arteries originate from the truncus arteriosus and the sixth pharyngeal arch. The truncus arteriosis is a structure that forms during the development of the heart as a successor to the conus arteriosus. [1]

By the third week of embryological life, the endocardial tubes have developed a swelling in the part closest to the heart. The swelling is known as the bulbus cordis and the upper part of this swelling develops into the truncus arteriosus [2] The structure is ultimately mesodermal in origin.[1] During development of the heart, the heart tissues undergo folding, and the truncus arteriosus is exposed to what will eventually be both the left and right ventricles. As a septum develops between the two ventricles of the heart, two bulges form on either side of the truncus arteriosus. These progressively enlarge until the trunk splits into the aorta and pulmonary arteries. [3]

During embryological life, the ductus arteriosis connects the pulmonary trunk and the arch of aorta, allowing blood to bypass the lungs.[citation needed]


The pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle to the lungs. The blood here passes through capillaries adjacent to alveoli and becomes oxygenated as part of the process of respiration.[citation needed]

In contrast to the pulmonary arteries, the bronchial arteries supply nutrition to the lungs themselves.[citation needed]

Pulmonary artery pressure

Site Normal
pressure range
(in mmHg)[4]
Central venous pressure 3–8
Right ventricular pressure systolic 15–30
diastolic 3–8
Pulmonary artery pressure systolic 15–30
diastolic 4–12
Pulmonary vein/

Pulmonary capillary wedge pressure

Left ventricular pressure systolic 100–140
diastolic 3-12

The pulmonary artery pressure (PA pressure) is a measure of the blood pressure found in the pulmonary artery. This is measured by inserting a catheter into the pulmonary artery.[5] :190–191 The mean pressure is typically 9 - 18 mmHg,[6] and the wedge pressure measured in the left atrium may be 6-12mmHg. The wedge pressure may be elevated in left heart failure,[5]:190–191 mitral valve stenosis, and other conditions, such as sickle cell disease.[7]

Clinical significance

The pulmonary artery is relevant in a number of clinical states. Pulmonary hypertension is used to describe an increase in the pressure of the pulmonary artery, and may be defined as a mean pulmonary artery pressure of greater than 25mmHg.[5]:720 This may occur as a result of heart problems such as heart failure, lung or airway disease such as COPD or scleroderma, or thromboembolic disease such as pulmonary embolism or emboli seen in sickle cell anaemia.[5]:720–721

Pulmonary embolism refers to an embolus that lodges in the pulmonary circulation. This may arise from a deep venous thrombosis, especially after a period of immobility. A pulmonary embolus is a common cause of death in patients with cancer and stroke.[5]:720–721 A large pulmonary embolus affecting the pulmonary trunk is called a saddle embolus.[citation needed]

Additional images

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b Larsen 2009, pp. 157.
  2. ^ Larsen 2009, pp. 159-160.
  3. ^ Larsen 2009, pp. 176-179.
  4. ^ Table 30-1 in: Trudie A Goers; Washington University School of Medicine Department of Surgery; Klingensmith, Mary E; Li Ern Chen; Sean C Glasgow (2008). The Washington manual of surgery. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 0-7817-7447-0. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Davidson's principles and practice of medicine. (21st ed. ed.). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. 2010. ISBN 978-0-7020-3084-0.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  6. ^ Edwards Lifesciences LLC > Normal Hemodynamic Parameters – Adult 2009
  7. ^ Pashankar FD, Carbonella J, Bazzy-Asaad A, Friedman A (April 2008). "Prevalence and risk factors of elevated pulmonary artery pressures in children with sickle cell disease". Pediatrics 121 (4): 777–82. PMID 18381543. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-0730. 
  • Larsen's human embryology (4th ed., Thoroughly rev. and updated. ed.). Philadelphia: Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier. 2009. pp. "Development of the Urogenital system". ISBN 9780443068119.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)