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An artery (plural arteries) (from Greek, Modern ἀρτηρία (artēria), meaning 'windpipe, artery') is a blood vessel that takes blood away from the heart to all parts of the body (tissues, lungs, etc). Most arteries carry oxygenated blood; the two exceptions are the pulmonary and the umbilical arteries, which carry deoxygenated blood to the organs that oxygenate it. The effective arterial blood volume is that extracellular fluid which fills the arterial system.
The arteries are part of the circulatory system, which is responsible for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to all cells, as well as the removal of carbon dioxide and waste products, the maintenance of optimum blood pH, and the circulation of proteins and cells of the immune system. In developed countries, the two leading causes of death, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and stroke, may each directly result from an arterial system that has been slowly and progressively compromised by years of deterioration (usually clogged by cholesterol).