Cardio-Vascular System Physiology

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Introduction
 Every

cell relies on the surrounding interstitial fluid for oxygen, nutrients, and waste disposal.  The composition of the interstitial fluid is kept stable through continuous exchange between the peripheral tissues and the blood stream.  Yet the blood can help maintain homeostasis only as long as it stays in motion.  Thus all the functions of the

Circuits
 Blood

flows through a network of blood vessels that extend between the heart and the peripheral tissues.  Those blood vessels can be subdivided into a pulmonary circuit, which carries blood to and from the gas exchange surface of the lungs, and the systemic circuit, which transport blood to and from the rest of the body.  Each circuit begins and ends at the heart, and the blood travels through these circuits in sequence.

Arteries and Veins
 Arteries,

or efferent vessels, carry blood away from the heart; veins, or afferent vessels, return blood to the heart. Capillaries are small, thin-walled vessels between the smallest arteries and veins. Capillaries are called exchange vessels, because their thin walls permit the exchange of the nutrients, dissolved gases, and waste products

THE HEART
 This

muscular organ beats approximately 100,000 times each day, pumping roughly 8000 liters of blood.  Despite its impressive workload, it is a small organ, roughly in the size of a clenched fist.  It has four chambers, each two are associated with each circuit.  The right atrium receives blood from the systemic circuit and passes it to

FACTS
 When

the heart beats, the atria contract first, then the ventricles contract. The two ventricles

contract at the same time and eject equal volumes of blood into the pulmonary and systemic circuits.

The skeleton of the heart
 The

skeleton of the heart consists of a plate of fibrous connective tissue between the atria and the ventricles.  This connective tissue plate forms; FIBROUS RINGS; around the atrioventricular and semilunar valves and provide a solid support for them.  The fibrous ring also serves as electrical insulation between the atria and the ventricles and provides a rigid site for attachment for the cardiac muscle.

Cardiac Muscle
 Important

Physiological Features of cardiac muscle cells Include:   1. Cardiac muscle cells are elongated branching cells containing one or two centrally located nuclei.  Cardiac muscle cells contain actin and myosin filaments organized to form sarcomeres, which join end to end to form myofibrils.  The actin and myosin filaments are responsible for muscle contraction.

Cardiac Muscle
 2.

Depolarizations of cardiac muscle cell membrane are not carried from the surface of the cell to the sarcoplasmic reticulum as efficiently as they are in skeletal muscles, and calcium must diffuse a greater distance from the sarcoplasmic reticulum to the actin myofilaments.  This loose association is partly responsible for the slow onset of contraction and the prolonged contraction phase in cardiac muscle.

Cardiac Muscle
 3.

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) provides the energy for cardiac muscle contraction, and as in other tissues, ATP production depends on oxygen availability. Cardiac muscle, however, cannot develop a large oxygen debt, a characteristic that is consistent with the function of the heart. Development of a large oxygen debt would result in muscle fatigue and cessation of cardiac

Cardiac Muscle
 4.

Cardiac muscle cells are rich in mitochondria, which perform oxidative metabolism at a rate rapid enough to sustain normal myocardial energy requirements. An extensive capillary network provides an adequate oxygen supply to the cardiac muscle.

Cardiac Muscle
 5.

Cardiac muscle cells are organized in spiral bundles or sheets. The cells are bound end to end and laterally to adjacent cells by specialized cell to cell contact called intercalated disks the membrane of which is folded to increase surface contact between them.

Cardiac Muscle
 Specialized

cell membrane structures called desmosomes hold the cells together, and gap junctions function as areas of low electrical resistance between the cells, allowing action potentials to pass from one cell to adjacent cell.  Electrically, the cardiac muscle cells behave as a single unit, and the highly coordinated contractions of the heart depend on this functional

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