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\The Circulatory


The circulatory system is a system of tubes with a pump and valves to ensure one
way flow of blood.

We can conclude then that the circulatory system is composed of tubes or blood
vessels, a pump which is the heart, valves and blood.

Blood has two components:

1. Liquid Component
2. Solid Component

The liquid component of the blood:

It is called the plasma

It has a yellowish color
The plasma carries the nutrients and wastes. Nutrients such as amino
acids, glucose and vitamins. Wastes such as carbon dioxide and urea
(waste of proteins)
Mainly composed of water

The solid component of the blood: Blood cells:

There are three types of blood cells:

1. Red Blood Cells (RBCs): a type of cells that have a protein called
hemoglobin, which carry oxygen. RBCs do not have a nucleus- so there is
more space for oxygen.

White Blood Cells (WBCs): their function is to protect the body against
germs, and foreign bodies.


3. Platelets: a type of blood cells which are responsible for clotting wounds
when you are hurt. This also protects your body and does not allow germs
and foreign molecules from entering.
The structure of the heart is composed of smooth muscular walls (cardiac
muscle), septum, four chambers, valves and blood vessels. Chambers of the
heart: two upper chambers: the atria which are thin walled chambers, and
ventricles: two lower chambers which are thick walled.

The left ventricle has the thickest wall because it is responsible for pumping blood
to the body: its thick walls allow it to withstand the pressure.

The right side of the heart contains deoxygenated blood while the left side of the
heart contains oxygenated blood. The atria of the heart always contract together
and the ventricles of the heart always contract together- this is why the heart is
called a double pump.
Septum: is a wall dividing the chambers of the heart, separating the right side
from the left side.

Function of the heart:

The heart is a pumping organ that is responsible for the movement of blood
around the body, allowing the oxygenated blood to reach all parts of the body.

Flow of blood in the heart:

Deoxygenated blood from the body enters the heart through the vena cava
to the right atrium.
The blood then moves to the right ventricle.
The blood is then pumped to the lungs through the pulmonary artery.
Ventricles always pump blood into arteries.
The blood becomes oxygenated in the lungs and then moves back to the
heart by the pulmonary vein, into the left atrium.
The blood is pumped to the left ventricle and then to the body by the aorta.

The blood passes twice through the heart during one complete circuit- this is
known as double circulation: once on its way to the body which is called systemic
circulation and once on its way to the lungs which is called pulmonary circulation.

Pulmonary Circulation: low pressure circulation. The walls of pulmonary capillaries

are thin and the walls of the alveoli are then so the low pressure prevents their

Systemic Circulation: high pressure circulation. The high pressure allows the
delivery of blood to each part of the body, nourishing it.
Valves: are flaps of tissue.

Function: to prevent backflow of blood to the heart and for the blood to
move in one direction.

Tricuspid valve: made up of three flaps: present between the right atrium
and ventricle.
Bicuspid valve: made up of two flaps: present between the left atrium and

TRICUSPID AND BICUSPID prevent backflow of blood back to the


Semi lunar valves: present in the pulmonary artery and aorta: preventing
backflow of blood back to the ventricles.
Coronary Arteries: arteries that nourish the heart with nutrients and oxygen,
similar to all the other cells of the body! The coronary arteries branch from the

There are three different types of blood vessels

1. Arteries:
Carry blood from the heart to the body
Carry oxygenated blood except for the pulmonary artery
Small lumen creating high pressure and fast flow of blood
Elastic, thick, muscular walls to withstand the high pressure caused by
blood flow
Pulse is taken by the arteries, at sites where the arteries are near the
surface and are pressing against bone.
Arteries are larger near the heart then divide into smaller vessels called

2. Veins:
Carry blood from the body to the heart
Carry deoxygenated blood except for the pulmonary vein
Wide lumen creating low pressure
Non elastic, thin walled vessel
Less muscular than arteries
Withdrawal of blood from the veins
Veins divide into smaller vessels called venules
Veins contain valves to control movement of blood in one direction and
decrease the pressure on the inside of the veins.

3. Capillaries:
Tiny vessels
One cell wall thick
Permeable: blood does not pass through the capillary but some liquid does
pass carrying nutrients and oxygen.

Blood flow: Arteries- arterioles- capillaries-- venules - veins

Exercise and heart beat:

Heart rate increases when exercising since the body will need more oxygen.
Therefore the heart will pump the blood faster to deliver the oxygen for the cells
to respire for energy to continue exercising. This allows the wastes and carbon
dioxide to be removed. Also, this prevents anaerobic respiration from taking place
and lactic acid from being produced.

Heart Beat:

It is one complete systole and diastole of the heart.

Diastole: relaxation of the heart

Systole: contraction of the heart

The atria contract together while the ventricles contract.

To measure blood pressure we calculate the pressure created by the contraction

of the ventricles over the pressure created by the relaxation of the ventricles.

For example 120/80