Cardiovascular Circulatory Patterns

See figure 9-4 for an illustration depicting cardiovascular circulatory patterns.

Figure 9-4. Cardiovascular circulatory patterns.

a. General. The human cardiovascular circulatory system is described as a closed, two-cycle system.

(1) It is closed because at no place is the blood as whole blood ever outside the system.

(2) It is two-cycle because the blood passes through the heart twice with each complete circuit of the body. In the pulmonary cycle, the blood passes from the right heart, through the lungs, and to the left heart. In the systemic cycle, the blood passes from the left heart, through the body in general, and returns to the right heart.

(3) It is common for an area of the body to be supplied by more than one blood vessel so that if one is damaged, the others will continue the supply. This is known as collateral circulation. However, there are situations, such as in the heart and the brain, where a single artery supplies a specific part of a structure. Such an artery is called an end artery. When an end artery is damaged, that area supplied by it will usually die, as in the case of the coronary artery (para 9-7c) above or in the case of a "stroke" in the brain.

b. Pulmonary Cycle. The pulmonary cycle begins in the right ventricle of the heart. Contraction of the right ventricular wall applies pressure to the blood. This forces the tricuspid valve closed and the closed valve prevents blood from going back into the right atrium. The pressure forces blood past the semilunar valve into the pulmonary trunk. Upon relaxation of the right ventricle, back pressure of the blood in the pulmonary trunk closes the pulmonary semilunar valve. The blood then passes into the lungs through the pulmonary arterial system. Gases are exchanged between the alveoli of the lungs and the blood in the capillaries next to the alveoli. This blood, now saturated with oxygen, is collected by the pulmonary veins and carried to the left atrium of the heart. This completes the pulmonary cycle.

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