Arteries vs Veins- Definition and 27 Major Differences

Differences between Arteries and Veins

Arteries and veins are two of the body’s main type of blood vessels through which blood flow in the body. The arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart while the veins carry deoxygenated blood from the tissue capillaries back towards the heart.

Differences between Arteries and Veins

Image Source: West Florida Vein Center and Wapcaplet, Yaddah.

Here are some of the differences:





1.       Definition Blood vessels that transport blood away from the heart. Blood vessels that transport blood to the heart for oxygenation.
2.       Also called Arteries look Red. Veins look Blue (But they aren’t actually blue, blue lights are just reflected in our eyes).
3.       Position Usually positioned deeper within the body. Usually positioned closer or beneath the surface of the skin.
4.       Transport/Carry Oxygenated blood except for the pulmonary artery. Deoxygenated blood except for pulmonary vein in adult circulation and umbilical vein in foetal circulation.
5.       Oxygen level Oxygen levels are quite high in arterial blood. The oxygen level is low comparatively.
6.       Carbon-dioxide level The CO2 level is low in arterial blood. The CO2 level is high in venous blood.
7.       Volume of blood Low (About 15%) High (About 65%)
8.       Structure 3 layers of tissue:

Outer coat (Tunica adventitia)

The middle coat (Tunica media)

The inner coat(Tunica intima)

Also, possess the same 3 layers but all much thinner.
9.       Tunica  adventitia Less developed. More developed.
10.    Tunica media More muscular. Less muscular.
11.    Tunica intima Endothelial cells are more elongated. Endothelial cells are less elongated.
12.    Thickest layer Tunica media Tunica adventitia
13.    Walls Much stronger and rigid than veins. Less strong or collapsible walls.
14.    Muscularity More Less
15.    Flexibility Highly flexible Not very flexible
16.    Lumen Much narrower lumen Comparatively wide
17.    Blood pressure Higher in arteries Lower in veins
18.    Movement of blood Spurty movement Sluggish movement
19.    Pulse (wrist) Detectable (radial artery) Not detectable.
20.    Valves Absent (except for semi-lunar valves). Contain valves to help keep blood flowing in the right direction.
21.    Pathway of blood flow Very distinct Sometimes indistinguishable because of many interconnections
22.    Collapsing of vessel Would generally remain open if blood flow stopped, due to their thick muscular layer. Would collapse if blood flow stops.
23.    Injury to the Blood Vessel Squirting blood Pooling of blood
24.    Contraction of muscle Present Absent
25.    At the time of death Arteries empty up at the time of death. Veins get filled up at the time of death.
26.    Types Pulmonary arteries

Systemic arteries

Deep veins

Superficial veins 

Pulmonary veins

Systemic veins

27.    Associated Diseases Atherosclerosis, Angina Pectoris, Artherogenesis- myocardial ischemia. Deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins.


  1. Tuitui, R., & Suwal, D. S. (2010). Human Anatomy and Physiology. Kathmandu: Vidyarthi Prakashan.

Differences between Arteries and Veins

9 thoughts on “Arteries vs Veins- Definition and 27 Major Differences”

  1. Veins are thinner walled than arteries and have less elastic tissue, and much, much less smooth muscle tissue. Instead, veins make use of valves and the muscle contraction of your body’s major skeletal muscles to squeeze blood along. This is the reason you’re asked to get up and walk around on a long plane flight–to prevent blood from pooling in your legs.

  2. I checked the difference of arteries and veins which is given in box in which arteries -red blood vessels
    Veins-blue blood vessels
    Which I feel is misleading as there is no color difference


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