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Pathway of Blood

Pathway of Blood

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Pathway of Blood...
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Pathway of Blood:

While it is convenient to describe the flow of blood through the right side of the heart and then through the left side, it is important to realize that both atria contract at the same time and that both ventricles contract at the same time.  

The heart works as two pumps, one on the right and one on the left that work simultaneously.  The right pump pumps the blood to the lungs or the pulmonary circulation at the same time that the left pump pumps blood to the rest of the body or the systemic circulation.  

Venous blood from systemic circulation(deoxygenated) enters the right atrium through the superior and inferior vena cava.  The blood flows through the tricuspid valve and into the right ventricle.  From the right ventricle it passes through the pulmonary semilunar valve into the pulmonary trunk, then into the pulmonary arteries, which carry the blood to the lungs.

In the lungs, the blood releases carbon dioxide and picks up a new supply of oxygen:  then the pulmonary veins carry the blood to the left atrium.  

From the left atrium, it flows through the bicuspid or mitral valve into the left ventricle and then through the aortic semilunar valve and into the ascending aorta.  Oxygen rich blood flowing through the aorta is distributed to all parts of the body through systemic circulation.

See...this is much easier than you thought!!!!!!


The myocardium of the heart wall is working muscle that needs a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients to function with efficiency.  Unlike skeletal muscle tissue, cardiac muscle tissue cannot build up an oxygen debt to be repaid at a later date.  It needs a continuous supply or it simply dies.  For this reason, cardiac muscle has an extensive network of vessels taking oxygen to the contracting cells and to remove waste products.

The right and left coronary arteries, branching off the ascending aorta, supply blood to the walls of the myocardium.

Blood flow through the coronary arteries is greatest when the myocardium is relaxed.  When the ventricles contract, they compress the arteries, which reduces the flow.  

Angina pectoris is chest pain that results when the heart muscle demand for oxygen exceeds the oxygen supply.  Nitroglycerin is sometimes used in the treatment of angina pectoris because it dilates blood vessels , so that the patient is less likely to develop a myocardial oxygen deficit.

If a branch of coronary artery becomes blocked, blood supply to that region of the heart is cut off and the muscle cells in that area die from lack of oxygen.  This is a myocardial infarction (MI).  The extent of the damage and the chances of recovery depend on the location of the blockage and the length of time that elapses before medical intervention occurs.

Blood from the capillaries in the myocardium enters the cardiac veins, which drain into the coronary sinus.  From there it enters the right atrium.


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