An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to the organs. Blood is pumped out of the heart at high pressure, so the artery walls are strong and elastic. To be strong and flexible, they have thick layers of muscle and elastic fibres. Comparatively, the walls are thick in comparison to the hole down the middle, the lumen.
Capillaries branch off from arteries. In the body, the capillaries transport the blood close to each cell to exchange material at the tissue level. The cells get food and oxygen from them, as well as waste products such as carbon dioxide.
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