Vascular Distensibility and Functions of the Arterial and Venous Systems Vascular Distensibility o Units of Vascular Distensibility  Normally

expressed as the fractional increase in volume for each millimeter of mercury rise in pressure o Difference in Distensibility of the Arteries and the Veins  Walls of arteries are far stronger than those of the veins  arteries are eight times LESS distensible than veins • Vascular Compliance (Capacitance) o Total quantity of blood that can be stored in a given portion of the circulation for each millimeter of mercury pressure rise o Vascular compliance= increase in volume/ increase in pressure • Volume-Pressure Curves of the Arterial and Venous Circulations o Effect of Sympathetic Stimulation or Sympathetic Inhibition on the Volume-Pressure Relations of the Arterial and Venous Systems  Increase in vascular smooth muscle tone caused by sympathetic stimulation increases the pressure at each volume of the arteries or veins.  Sympathetic inhibition decreases the pressure at each volume. o Delayed Compliance (Stress-relaxation) of Vessels Arterial Pressure Pulsations • Abnormal Pressure Pulse Contours o Arteriosclerosis  Pulse pressure rises in old age because the arteries have become hardened and therefore are relatively noncompliant  The less the compliance of the arterial system, the greater the rise in pressure for a given stroke volume of blood pumped into the arteries. o Aortic stenosis  Diameter of the aortic valve opening is reduced, the aortic pressure pulse is decreased because of diminished blood flow outward through the stenotic valve o Patent ductus arteriosis  ½ or more of the blood pumped into the aorta by the L ventricle flows backward through the ductus into the pulmonary and lung blood vessels  diastolic pressure falls before the next heartbeat o Aortic regurgitation  Aortic valve is absent or does not close completely (after each heartbeat, the blood that has been pumped into the aorta flows immediately backward into the L ventricle)  Aortic pressure can fall to 0 between heartbeats  No incisura because there is no aortic valve to close • Transmission of Pressure Pulses to the Peripheral Arteries o Damping of the Pressure Pulses in the Smaller Arteries, Arterioles and Capillaries • Clinical Methods for Measuring Systolic and Diastolic Pressures o Auscultatory Method o Normal arterial Pressures as Measured by the Auscultator Method o Mean Arterial Pressure Veins and Their Functions • Venous Pressures—Right Atrial Pressure (Central Venous Pressure) and Peripheral Venous Pressures o Right atrial pressure is regulated by a balance between:  The ability of the heart to pump blood out of the right atrium and ventricle into the lungs  The tendency for blood to flow from the peripheral veins into the right atrium • Venous Resistance and Peripheral Venous Pressure

o Most of the large veins that enter the thorax are compressed at many points by the surrounding
tissues, so that blood flow is impeded at these points  large veins usually do offer some resistance to blood flow o Effect of High Right Atrial Pressure on Peripheral Venous Pressurea  The peripheral venous pressure is not noticeably elevated even in the early stages of heart failure. o Effect of Intra-abdominal Pressure on Venous Pressures of the Leg  When the intra-abdominal pressure rises, the pressure in the veins of the legs must rise above the abdominal pressure to allow blood flow from the legs to the heart. • Effect of Gravitational Pressure on Venous Pressure o Effect of the Gravitational Factor on Arterial and Other Pressures o Venous Valves and the Venous Pump: Their Effects on Venous Pressure  Every time one moves the legs, one tightens the muscles and compresses the veins in or adjacent to the muscle and this squeezes the blood out of the veins. The valves in the veins are arranged so that the direction of venous blood flow can only be toward the heart. o Venous Valve Incompetence Causes Varicose Veins Blood Reservoir Function of the Veins • Specific Blood Reservoirs • The Spleen as a Reservoir for Storing RBCs