The Aorta—A Wonder of Design

The aorta is a more sophisticated piece of “plumbing” than scientists previously realized. At first glance, the arch of the aorta resembles the curved handle of an umbrella. But that is not entirely correct. The arch of the aorta has, not a simple two-dimensional curve, but a three-dimensional one, like a semicircular section cut out of a coil spring. Laid on a flat surface, it would curl around and up.

Why this design? Because instead of simply making the blood flow around the arch like water in the bend of a river, it makes the blood swirl around the aorta in a double-spiral fashion. On the inside of a river bend, the water flows slower, allowing sediment to build up. But on the outside of the bend, the stream moves faster, even scouring away the bank. In the aorta, such a difference in speed might allow dangerous plaques to build up on the slower inside bend. By forcing the blood to flow in a spiral fashion, however, the aorta reduces this problem by causing the blood to scour its wall more evenly.

Truly, the aorta is a miracle of design! With good reason the Bible psalmist exclaimed: “In a fear-inspiring way I am wonderfully made.”—Psalm 139:14.

[Diagram on page 31]

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[Picture Credit Line on page 31]

Blood cell background on pages 24-6, and 31: Lennart Nilsson