An overview of the circulatory system and related anatomy and physiology of the peripheral vascular system by Cormac Norton

Chapter 2


An overview of the circulatory system, and related anatomy and physiology of the peripheral vascular system


Cormac Norton



Learning outcomes


At the end of this chapter, the practitioner will be able to:


imageDiscuss the structure of the circulatory system


imageHave a basic understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the peripheral vascular system


imageIdentify the structural differences between an artery and a vein


imageIdentify the most common anatomical sites for venepuncture and cannulation.


Introduction


It is important to have a good knowledge of anatomy and physiology and to understand how the circulatory system works. This chapter will provide a brief overview; you may wish to read a dedicated anatomy and physiology text if you require more detailed information.


The human circulatory system has three key components:


imageThe heart


imageBlood


imageBlood vessels.


The heart


The heart is a four-chambered pump. The heart’s pumping action can appear confusing. It may be helpful to separate functions to the right and left side of the heart.


Table 2.1 Right-side heart functions



imageDeoxygenated blood is delivered to the right atrium by two of the largest veins in the body – the inferior and superior venae cavae.


imageThe right atrium pumps blood to the right ventricle.


imageThe right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs for oxygenation via the pulmonary artery.


The right side of the heart contains two of the heart’s four chambers – the right atrium and ventricle. The primary role of the right side is to pump deoxygenated blood to the lungs (Nair & Peate 2013). Deoxygenated blood enters the right side of the heart. From there, it travels to the lungs.


At this point it is useful to highlight one of the key differences between arteries and veins:


Arteries carry blood away from the heart; veins carry blood back to the heart.


You will notice from the description above that the venae cavae (large veins) are carrying blood back to the heart, while the pulmonary artery carries blood away from the heart. Once blood has been oxygenated, it takes the following journey from the lungs to the left side of the heart and on to the rest of the body:


Table 2.2 Left-side heart functions


Mar 25, 2020 | Posted by in NURSING | Comments Off on An overview of the circulatory system and related anatomy and physiology of the peripheral vascular system by Cormac Norton
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