What is the difference between an artery and a vein? - Peripheral Vascular Associates
What is the difference between an artery and a vein? - Peripheral Vascular Associates

What is the difference between an artery and a vein?


In some ways, arteries and veins do the same thing: they both carry blood, they both come in many different sizes, they are both vitally important, and they can both cause problems when they are blocked or bleeding. In other ways, arteries and veins are very different.

To begin with, arteries deliver blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Veins return the blood back to the heart from the rest of the body.

What most people do not know is that the pressure inside of arteries is very different from the pressure inside of veins. The pressure created by the heart pushes the blood thru the arteries. The pressure inside the arteries is directly related to the patient’s blood pressure. The pressure in the veins is very low.

Think about the difference in how a water hose delivers water (high pressure) vs the way a gutter moves water (low pressure). The blood moving from the heart is moving under high pressure, the blood returning to the heart is moving under very low pressure. Arteries = high pressure, veins = low pressure.

If you cut yourself and an artery is bleeding, it squirts a long way and it will have a pulse. If a vein is bleeding, the sight of it will still be disturbing, but it will not be pulsatile and it will be low pressure. Hopefully, you’ll put pressure on it either way and it will stop bleeding.

The arteries supply freshly oxygenated blood, the veins bring back the used blood back to the lungs for recharge.

Arteries and veins are two separate parts of one system that circulates your blood all day and all night. The circulation of blood is, in fact, the essence of life. Both are part of the real circle of life (no offense to Elton John).

Peripheral Vascular Associates is proud to serve the San Antonio community and surrounding areas in vascular disease education, prevention, and treatment for over 43 years. Our vascular physicians are dedicated to helping our patients better understand how we can help them with vascular disease. If you would like more information about vascular health, please contact us or schedule an appointment at (210) 237-4444.

Source: Dr. Demetrios Macris
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