artery vs vein difference

Artery Vs. Vein: What Are The Differences?

Whether you need a reminder or you just never really understood it, if you’re not quite sure of the difference between arteries and veins, you’ve landed in just the right place.

We’ve put together a short, straightforward guide for you to better understand these two terms and the contrasting characteristics they have.




Arteries are blood vessels that generally move oxygenated blood away from your heart to your body’s tissues, with two exceptions – the pulmonary arteries, which transport deoxygenated blood to your lungs, and the umbilical ones, which carry blood from the fetus to the mother.

Arteries have thick and strong walls consisting of three layers – tunica external, media, and intima – specialized in such a way as to carry blood quickly and efficiently.

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Veins are blood vessels as well, but you can say they are the opposite of arteries in terms of the main function. They generally carry oxygen-depleted blood from your organs and tissues back to your heart, with the exception of the pulmonary and umbilical veins, which transport oxygenated (pure) blood.

These vessels are relatively thin and very flexible, and they feature valves to prevent the blood from flowing backward.

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Key Differences between Arteries and Veins

Now that we’ve established what these blood vessels are and what they do, let’s have a look at all the characteristics that tell them apart. The table below will show you the exact differences between veins and arteries in a clear, concise manner.



  • Arteries generally transport blood from your heart to the rest of the body.
  • Veins usually transport the blood the other way around, from various parts of your body to your heart.
  • They usually carry “pure”, dark red blood.
  • They usually carry “impure”, bright blood (oxygen-depleted).
  • Arteries don’t have any valves, but present muscle contractions.
  • Veins don’t have contracting muscles but are equipped with valves to prevent the blood from flowing in the wrong direction.
  • Arteries squirt blood out like a “fountain” when cut.
  • Veins ooze blood when their walls are injured.
  • They have thick, strong walls that do not collapse when cut.
  • They have thinner walls, which collapse in the absence of blood or when cut.
  • Arteries have a reddish colour.
  • Veins are bluish in color.
  • Your pulse is detectable in arteries.
  • Your pulse cannot be detected in veins.
  • They are high-pressure systems.
  • They are low-pressure systems.
  • Arteries empty up when you die.
  • Veins become filled up when you die.
  • Arteries are usually positioned deeper within the body.
  • They have a more superficial position, closer to the skin.
  • The arteries’ location is quite similar in all people.
  • Veins show a greater variability in terms of location.
  • Arteries are prone to diseases such as atherosclerosis or angina pectoralis.
  • They are less susceptible to illness.


Hopefully, you understood the differences between arteries and veins. If you liked our post, subscribe and we’ll send you lots of other fascinating and informative topics directly to your inbox!

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