Arteries vs. Veins: 27 Major Differences

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.

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Here are some of the differences:

S.N. Character Arteries Veins
1.      DefinitionBlood vessels transport blood away from the heart.Blood vessels transport blood to the heart for oxygenation.
2.      ColorArteries look Red.Veins look Blue (But they aren’t actually blue, blue lights are just reflected in our eyes).
3.      PositionUsually positioned deeper within the body.Usually positioned closer to or beneath the surface of the skin.
4.      Transport/CarryOxygenated blood except for the pulmonary artery.Deoxygenated blood except for pulmonary vein in adult circulation and umbilical vein in fetal circulation.
5.      Oxygen levelOxygen levels are quite high in arterial blood.The oxygen level is low comparatively.
6.      Carbon-dioxide levelThe CO2 level is low in arterial blood.The CO2 level is high in venous blood.
7.      Volume of bloodLow (About 15%)High (About 65%)
8.      Structure3 layers of tissue:

Outer coat (Tunica adventitia)The middle coat (Tunica media)The inner coat(Tunica intima)

Also, possess the same 3 layers but are all much thinner.
9.      Tunica  adventitiaLess developed.More developed.
10.   Tunica mediaMore muscular.Less muscular.
11.   Tunica intimaEndothelial cells are more elongated.Endothelial cells are less elongated.
12.   Thickest layerTunica mediaTunica adventitia
13.   WallsMuch stronger and rigid than veins.Less strong or collapsible walls.
14.   MuscularityMoreLess
15.   FlexibilityHighly flexibleNot very flexible
16.   LumenMuch narrower lumenComparatively wide
17.   Blood pressureHigher in arteriesLower in veins
18.   Movement of bloodSpurty movementSluggish movement
19.   Pulse (wrist)Detectable (radial artery)Not detectable.
20.   ValvesAbsent (except for semi-lunar valves).Contain valves to help keep blood flowing in the right direction.
21.   Pathway of blood flowVery distinctSometimes indistinguishable because of many interconnections
22.   Collapsing of vesselWould generally remain open if blood flow stopped, due to their thick muscular layer.Would collapse if blood flow stops.
23.   Injury to the Blood VesselSquirting bloodPooling of blood
24.   Contraction of musclePresentAbsent
25.   At the time of deathArteries empty up at the time of death.Veins get filled up at the time of death.
26.   TypesPulmonary arteries

Systemic arteries

Deep veins
Superficial veins 

Pulmonary veinsSystemic veins

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


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

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Sagar Aryal

Sagar Aryal is a microbiologist and a scientific blogger. He is doing his Ph.D. at the Central Department of Microbiology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal. He was awarded the DAAD Research Grant to conduct part of his Ph.D. research work for two years (2019-2021) at Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarbrucken, Germany. Sagar is interested in research on actinobacteria, myxobacteria, and natural products. He is the Research Head of the Department of Natural Products, Kathmandu Research Institute for Biological Sciences (KRIBS), Lalitpur, Nepal. Sagar has more than ten years of experience in blogging, content writing, and SEO. Sagar was awarded the SfAM Communications Award 2015: Professional Communicator Category from the Society for Applied Microbiology (Now: Applied Microbiology International), Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK). Sagar is also the ASM Young Ambassador to Nepal for the American Society for Microbiology since 2023 onwards.

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