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CVS 1 : Blood Vessels 1 Prof.


The Arterial System

Blood vessels are the closed transport system of blood that begins and ends at the heart. The three main types are: arteries, veins and capillaries. When the heart contracts blood moves into Large Arteries smaller arteries arterioles metarterioles capillary beds venules small veins Large veins back to the heart. An artery is a relatively thick-walled, muscular, pulsating blood vessel that carries blood in a direction away from the heart. With the exception of the pulmonary and umbilical arteries, arteries convey oxygenated blood. Structure & Function of different types of Arteries In general, all blood vessel walls are made of three layers Tunica intima (interna) endothelium (simple squamous epithelium) Tunica media circumferentially arranged smooth muscle and elastic fibers. This is the layer that undergoes vasodilation (increase diameter of lumen) or vasoconstriction (decrease diameter of lumen). Therefore it is important in regulating blood flow and blood pressure. Tunica externa (adventitia) loose collagen fibers that protect and strengthen the blood vessel. Arteries are divided into three types Elastic Conducting arteries: Largest arteries: aorta and its branches Large diameter: 2.5 to 1 cm Low resistance pathways (because of large diameter) Most elastic fibers than any other type enables them to withstand high pressure. Flow is pulsatile goes up and down (rhythmic) They expand in systole and recoil in diastole this moves blood onward They have smooth muscle but it is not active in vasoconstriction. Muscular Distributing arteries: Diameter 1 cm to 0.3 cm Delivers blood to specific organs Thick tunica media a lot of smooth muscle Active in vasoconstriction and vasodilation Arterioles: Diameter 0.3 cm to 10 micrometer Large arterioles have more smooth muscle Smaller arterioles have a small amount of muscle Their diameter is most important in determining blood flow into capillaries The most important site of resistance in the whole systemic circulation They constrict and dilate in response to neural and chemical stimuli If all arterioles are in vasodilation BP reduction in amount of blood going back to the heart Venous return shock / fainting / falling flat (easier to get blood to brain) Blood Volume is the volume of blood in the entire circulation = cardiac output = 5ml/min

CVS 1 : Blood Vessels 2 Prof. Lammers Distribution of blood to each organ or tissue depends on the tissues needs. Eg: Kidney uses largest amount brain skeletal muscle etc. Tissues that have low resistance receive higher proportion of blood and those with high resistance receive less. It depends on the characteristics of blood vessels that supply the tissue or organ.

Blood Flow The pumping action of the heart generates blood flow The blood flow that passes through a given blood vessel depends directly on the pressure difference between the two ends of the blood vessel and indirectly on the resistance of blood movement.

Blood Flow = Pressure Gradient Peripheral Resistance

Blood Pressure is the force produced on the walls of blood vessels as a result of blood flow. (mmHg) Pressure results when flow is opposed by resistance Blood pressure always refers to systemic arterial blood pressure in the large arteries. The pressure gradient (difference in pressure) is what keeps blood flowing, always from high to low pressure. Peripheral Resistance - the total resistance to flow of blood in the systemic circuit, a measure of the amount of friction blood encounters as it passes in the blood vessels. It depends on: 1. Blood viscosity: internal resistance to flow related to thickness of blood. Blood viscosity peripheral resistance Blood Flow. Plasma proteins and blood cells (RBCs) make blood viscous. It is normally constant Blood vessel length: the longer the vessel the more resistance. (normally constant) Blood vessels cant become longer but can become shorter by forming anastomoses (communication between blood vessels mostly between artery and vein). This leads to the length of travel of blood in a vessel resistance Blood flow Venous pressure.


3. Blood vessel diameter: Most important in determining peripheral resistance. The higher the diameter of the blood vessel lumen the less friction blood encounters less resistance blood flow The smaller the diameter more friction because more fluid is in contact with the blood vessel wall resistance blood flow Because arterioles can dilate and constrict the most and the fact that they have the smallest diameter of all blood vessels in the systemic circulation, they are the major determinants of peripheral resistance. Blood pressure is highest in the aorta, it decreases steadily until the steepest decrease happens at the level of arterioles. (Arterioles small diameter highest resistance Blood Flow) Pulse Pressure: difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic = 120 mmHg

CVS 1 : Blood Vessels 3 Prof. Lammers Diastolic = 70 to 80 mmHg Pulse pressure is felt as the pulse: throbbing pulsation in an artery in systole Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP): average of blood pressure Diastolic is more important because diastole is longer than systole in a single cardiac cycle. MAP = Diastolic Pressure + 1/3 (Pulse pressure)

Arterial blood pressure can be measured by using a sphygmomanometer. It consists of a pressure measuring device and an inflatable cuff. It involves auscultation Listening to the sounds made by the various body structures as a diagnostic method. Listening to Korotkoff sounds sound's heard over an artery when pressure over it is reduced below systolic arterial pressure. A stethoscope is placed over the brachial artery in the antecubital fossa. When pressure of cuff is higher then systolic, no blood flows no sound heard, silence When pressure of cuff is slightly below systolic, blood will briefly be forced past the cuff at the beginning of each systole. Blood flow is turbulent and is heard as sharp tapping sounds As pressure in cuff falls below systolic, blood is forced through for longer periods with each systole louder longer sounds. When cuff pressure is close to diastolic pressure, the thumping sounds become quieter. When the cuff pressure is below diastolic, the artery is no longer compressed and blood flows normally no sounds. Systolic Pressure first heard tapping sounds Diastolic Pressure when the sound disappears.

Al Tenaiji, A. M, The Arterial System. 2002