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The Heart and

Circulatory System

1 of 49 Boardworks Ltd 2004

The Circulatory

1. To be aware what the circulatory system

consists of.
2. To consider the main components of the
system and the functions they perform.
3. To consider the heart and its role in
pumping blood to be an effective transport

Functions of the circulatory system
The circulatory system has three functions:

1. Transporting substances around the body.

These include oxygen, glucose, carbon
dioxide, nutrients, water and waste products.

2. Controlling body temperature.

3. Protecting the body. Blood contains

cells and anti-bodies that fight infection
and clotting agents to stop bleeding.

The circulatory system is described as a double

system because it has two loops. 3
Blood is the bodys means of transporting
substances around. It transports:

oxygen from the lungs to the heart and then to the

bodys tissues
carbon dioxide from the tissues to the heart and then
to the lungs to be expired
materials like hormones from one organ to another
nutrients (especially glucose) and minerals from the
intestines to the tissues
waste products to the kidneys.


Red blood cells
Blood is made up of a number of different elements.
The most common cell in blood is the red blood cell.
Also called erythrocytes.
Made in the bone marrow.
Contain a red-coloured
compound called haemoglobin
which bonds with oxygen to form
Transport oxygen to the tissues.

How important do you think red blood

cells are to sports performance? 6
White blood cells
Blood also contains white blood cells.
Also called leucocytes.
They are bigger than red
blood cells and have large
Act as the bodys defence
Some white blood cells surround and consume
harmful microbes.
Some produce chemicals called antibodies that fight
How important do you think white blood
cells are to sports performance? 7
Platelets are also carried in the blood.
Formed in red bone marrow.
Produce thrombokinase
a chemical needed for blood
Platelets help to repair tissues
and close wounds both
internally and externally.
When needed, they grow into
irregular shapes and stick together
to form a plug over the wound.
How important do you think platelets
are to sports performance? 8
The blood cells and platelets are suspended in a substance
called plasma. Plasma is made up of:
90% water
inorganic salts
urea and other waste products
plasma proteins.
Plasma can be separated
from the other components
of blood using a centrifuge.
Blood cells

The circulatory system

Deoxygenated Oxygenated
blood is
lungs blood returns
pumped from to the heart
the heart to the through the
lungs through pulmonary
the pulmonary vein.
Deoxygenated blood is pumped
blood returns to at high pressure
the heart from the heart to
through the the body through
vena cava. bodys the aorta.
The circulatory system

Blood vessels
There are three types of blood vessels, as shown in this
magnified part of the circulatory system.
blood from blood to the
the heart heart

artery vein
carries blood carries blood
away from back into
the heart the heart
carries blood to
and from the
bodys cells

Why are there different types of blood vessels? 13

Blood vessels
thick outer wall
thick inner layer of muscle
and elastic fibres
narrow central tube
thin outer wall
thin inner layer of muscle
and elastic fibres
wide central tube CAPILLARY

wall only one cell thick

Arteries are elastic vessels that transport
blood away from the heart.

Thick muscle layer control the flow of blood

No valves

2 types: pulmonary (lungs) and systemic

Where do we find them?

Near the heart


Far away from the

More smooth
Similar structure
From the arteries

Blood enters in

Only endothelium
wrapped round by a few
muscles fibres
Circular muscle fibres

Prevent blood from flowing into the


Extremely small
Blood vessel located within the tissues of the body, that
transports blood from arteries to veins
Most abundant in tissues and organs that are metabolically
Muscle tissues and the kidneys have a greater amount of
capillary networks than do connective tissues.
Structure of Capillaries
No muscle
No elastic
No valves
Thin layer of cells

4- 10 um diameter

Blood flow 1 mm/sec

Blood from capillaries drains into
the venules

Walls: thin layer of collagen


A vein is an elastic blood vessel that transports

blood from various regions of the body to the

Thin muscle layer


4 main types: pulmonary, systemic, superficial,

and deep veins.
Blood vessels: valves
When blood is flowing against gravity, or when a vein is
squeezed by muscle action, there is a risk that blood will flow
in the wrong direction. Veins have valves to prevent backflow.

vein valve prevented
vein valve
blood closed
to the
When muscles
move they
squeeze the
blood through
the veins. This The valves allow but close if blood
is the Muscle
Pump Action blood to flow in the starts to flow in the
correct direction wrong direction. 27
Semi-lunar Valves

The blood has

enough pressure to
force the valves
open as it flows
towards the heart.

Backflow of blood
causes the valves
to close.
Thick muscle layer Thin muscle layer
Thick elastic layer Thin elastic layer
No valves Valves
No muscle
No elastic
No valves
Thin layer of cells on
Blood vessels

The Changing Structure of Blood Vessels in
Relation to Function

a. Read and study Table 8.3. on page 156

b. Be ready for a surprise!!!!

DA: True or False
1. The arteries have thick walls to resist high pressure from the heart.
2. The venules have sphincters to prevent the blood from flowing back.

The Roles of the Blood Circulation
Function in Organism Transport Role of Circulation
Tissue respiration Transport of oxygen to all
tissues and carbon dioxide to
the lungs
Hydration Transport of water to all the
Nutrition Transport of nutrients &
inorganic ions
Excretion Transport of waste products of
metabolism to kidneys, lungs
and sweat glands
Temperature regulation Distribution of heat
Development & coordination Transport of hormones from33
endocrine glands to target
Exchange in the Tissues & the
Formation of Tissue Fluid

As blood flows through the
capillaries, some of the plasma
leaks out through the gaps
between the cells of capillary
walls, and seeps into spaces
between the cells of the tissues.
This liquid is called tissue fluid.
Tissue fluid is very similar to
blood plasma except that it
contains far fewer protein
molecules as these are too large
to escape through the tiny holes
in the capillary endothelium.
Red blood cells are also too
large but some white blood cells
such as neutrophils can squeeze
through the gaps.
Other small substances that are
found in tissue fluid include
glucose, urea, amino acids and
Tissue fluid
When blood passes through the capillaries
Capillaries work as a net

So it retains:
Plasma proteins

Water liquid which resembles plasma minus

its proteins
Tissue fluid
Not all of the tissue fluid returns to the blood
About one-tenth of it enters a separate system of
capillaries called the lymph capillaries.
These are part of the lymph system.
Lymph capillaries have tiny valves that allow the
tissue fluid to enter but will not let it out again.
Once inside the lymph system, the tissue fluid is
called lymph.
Lymph Nodes
This is where lymphocytes are produced.

They have an important role to play in producing


Lymphocytes are released from the lymph

nodes and find their way into the blood.

The lymph nodes often swell up of you have an

Transport of Respiratory Gases between
the Lungs & Respiring Tissues

Cardiac muscle
The four chambers of the heart have special names:
An upper chamber is called an atrium (plural: atria).

atrium left

right left
ventricle ventricle

A lower chamber is called a ventricle.

Cardiac system
Here are some other important parts of the heart:

The walls The semi-lunar

are made of valves prevent
cardiac expelled blood
muscle. flowing back into
the heart.
The wall Bicuspid
dividing the (mitral) valve
left and
right sides
of the heart valve
is called the These two valves
septum. prevent blood flowing
back into the atria
from the ventricles. 44
The heart as a pump

Stages of a heartbeat
Stage 1:
A heartbeat begins
with the heart muscle
relaxed and valves
Blood flows into the
two atria and both
sides fill up with
This blood has to be
pushed through the
valves to get into the
ventricles. How does
this happen?
Stages of a heartbeat
Stage 2:
The atria contract
and the blood is
squeezed which
causes the valves
leading to the
ventricles to open.
Blood then flows
from the atria into
the ventricles.
What happens to the
open valves when
the atria are empty?
Stages of a heartbeat
Stage 2 (continued):
The valves between
the atria and the
ventricles close.
This prevents any

What happens next

to the blood in the
Stages of a heartbeat
Stage 3:
Almost immediately,
the ventricles
contract and the
blood is squeezed
The pressure of the
blood forces open
the valves leading
out of the heart.
Blood is pumped out
of the heart.
What happens to the
open valves when
the ventricles are
Stages of a heartbeat
Stage 3 (continued):
When the ventricles
are empty, the valves
leading out of the
heart close and the
heart muscle relaxes.
This completes the
sequence of
contraction and
relaxation in one
What will happen
Stages of a heartbeat
Stage 1 (again):
The atria fill up with
blood as the
heartbeat sequence
begins again.

Why are the walls

of the atria thinner
than the walls of
the ventricles?

Why is the wall of the

left ventricle thicker
than the right
Listening to a beating heart: lub-dub
What does a doctor hear when they listen to a patients
lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub, lub-dub
The sound of a heartbeat is the sound of the heart valves.

The lub is caused by The dub is caused by

the closing of the valves the closing of the valves
leading to the ventricles. leading out of the heart.
The heart during exercise
Heart rate (or pulse rate) is You can measure how fast
the number of times your your heart is beating by
heart beats every minute. taking your pulse.
It is expressed in beats per
minute (bpm).
Resting heart rate varies from
individual to individual and is
affected by fitness.
The fitter you are, the lower This can be done at the
your resting heart rate will be. wrist or the neck.
The average resting heart Count how many times your
rate is about 7075 bpm. heart beats in 6 seconds
and then multiply by 10.
The heart during exercise
Each individual has a maximum heart rate the fastest
that their heart is able to beat. Testing it properly is difficult
and unpleasant, as it involves pushing your body to its
absolute limit.
However, maximum heart rate can be estimated using a
simple formula:

Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) = 220 0.7 x age

So, a 25 year-old would have a maximum heart rate of

220 25 = 195 bpm

What would your maximum heart rate be?

The heart during exercise
During exercise, the body uses up oxygen and nutrients at a
much faster rate. To keep the body supplied with what it
needs, the heart beats faster and with greater force.
This means that the heart rate increases.
What do you think happens to the volume of blood that
leaves the blood in one minute? (Cardiac Output)
Regular exercise causes changes to the heart.

The heart gets larger

The muscular wall become thicker
and stronger
Stroke volume at rest increases,
leading to a lower resting heart rate. 55
The heart during exercise

Do not need
to remember
Blood pressure

Do not need
to remember
Blood pressure
Blood pressure depends on the speed of the blood coming
into a vessel and the width of the vessel itself.

Arteries Capillaries Veins

Speed: high Speed: medium Speed: low
Width: medium Width: narrow Width: wide
Pressure: high Pressure: medium Pressure: low

Do not need
to remember
Blood pressure
An individuals blood pressure is affected by a number of
Age it increases as you get older.
Gender men tend to have higher blood
pressure than women.
Stress can cause increased blood pressure.
Diet salt and saturated fats can increase
blood pressure.
Exercise the fitter you are the lower your
blood pressure is likely to be.
Having high blood pressure puts stress on your heart.
It can lead to angina, heart attacks and strokes.
Effects of exercise on blood pressure
The immediate effect of exercise is to raise the blood
pressure as the heart beats faster and more powerfully.

During intense exercise, blood flow to the muscles can

increase to 35 times its normal volume. Higher blood
pressure is necessary in order to get this extra blood to
the muscles.
However, in the long-term,
regular exercise reduces blood
pressure. The fitter you are, the
lower your blood pressure is
likely to be.

Blood flow and body temperature
The circulatory system plays an important role in
regulating body temperature.


If the body gets too hot, capillaries near the surface of the
skin widen. Blood is diverted to the skin where the heat can
easily radiate away. This is called vasodilation.
Water from the blood is excreted as sweat to cool the body.
Blood flow and body temperature


If the body gets too cold, capillaries near the surface of the
skin get narrower. Blood is diverted away from the skin to
limit heat loss. This is called vasoconstriction.
Sweating stops.

Role of blood in achieving sports potential
Because red blood cells carry oxygen, which is vital to
muscle action, it is advantageous for a performer to have a
high red blood cell count, especially in endurance events.

When athletes train and live at

altitude, where there is less
oxygen in the air, their bodies
compensate by producing extra
red blood cells.
This means that they can
perform at a higher intensity than
other athletes when performing
at sea level.

Do not need
to remember
Blood doping
An athletes red blood cell count can be
illegally boosted through blood doping.
Several months before a competition,
blood is removed from a performer.
Their body produces more blood to replace
the blood that has been removed.
The red blood cells are separated out
from the removed blood and stored. Just before the
competition, they are re-injected into the competitor, giving
them an artificially high red blood cell count.
Blood doping can improve performance by 20%, however,
the extra blood can lead to dangerous blood clots and all
the heart problems associated with high blood pressure.
Exam-style questions
1. During exercise, extra demands are placed on the
circulatory system.
a) Describe what happens to heart rate, stroke volume
and cardiac output during intensive physical activity.
b) Describe how the circulatory system helps to
regulate body temperature during exercise.

2. Blood contains several different types of cell.

a) Explain the function of red blood cells in the body.
b) Describe one way in which a performer could
increase their red blood cell count.


Can you remember all these keywords?
Aorta Veins Stroke volume
Vena cava Capillaries Cardiac output
Pulmonary Lumen Blood pressure
artery Atria Vasodilation
Pulmonary vein Ventricles Vasoconstriction
Pulmonary Septum Red blood cells
Tricuspid valve White cells
Bicuspid (mitral) Platelets
valve Plasma
Semi-lunar Blood doping
Deoxygenated valve
Arteries Heart rate