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The coronary arteries are incredibly important for the proper functioning of the heart. Like every organ, the heart requires significant amounts of oxygen-rich blood. Though it is responsible for moving blood through the rest of the body, it uses its own vascular system to supply itself with blood. The main blood supplier, the aorta, branches off into the two main coronary arteries.

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1. Purpose of Arteries

There are several types of blood vessels in the human body. Most arteries are systemic, meaning they carry oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Pulmonary arteries carry blood from the right side of the heart, which is low in oxygen, to the lungs for oxygenation. The left coronary artery feeds blood to the left side of the heart while the right coronary artery transports blood to other blood vessels. Both coronary arteries begin with a width that is roughly equal to that of a drinking straw, around four millimeters. The arteries gradually taper as they descend to other vessels.

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