[UPDATED] The term [vasa vasorum] comes from the Latin [vasa] or [vas] meaning "a vessel", as in a container. Vasa vasorum means "the vessels of the vessels"
In arteries and veins, only the inner layer of the vessel, the endothelium can receive nutrition and oxygen from the blood that is carried by the vessel. Arteries and veins have their own blood supply network, their own arteries and veins. These are the vasa vasorum.
The image shows the internal structure of an artery with its three layers, tunica intima (named after Xavier Bichat), tunica media, and tunica adventitia, as well as the vasa vasorum. Click on the image for a larger depiction.
|NOTE: My personal thanks to Michiaki Akashi, M.D. for allowing us to use his artwork in this article. Dr. Akashi works as a surgeon and pathologist in the Saga Prefectural Hospital Koseikan in Saga, Japan. Dr. Miranda|