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The Circulatory

System

Rajat Goyal & Michelle Fater


Table of Contents
Table of Contents ……………………..………..…………………...........1
Overview of Human Organ Systems ………………………….…....2
General overview of The Circulatory System ......................3
Open Circulatory System …………………………………..4
Closed Circulatory System …………………………………4
Functions of the System ………………………………………………….5
Heart ………………………………………………………………………………6
Pulse …………………………………………………………………7
Chambers of the Heart ……………………………………..7
Arteries ……………………………………………………………………….….8
Veins ………………………………………………………………………….……9
Blood …………………………………………………………………………….10
Oxygenation of Blood …………………………………….11
Red Blood Cells …………………………...…………………12
White Blood Cells …………………….....…………………13
Antigens …………………………………………………………14
Plasma Cells and Platelets ………………………………15
Heart and Circulatory Systems of other Organisms ……....16
Mammals and Birds ……………………………………….16
Amphibians and Reptiles …………………….…………17
Fish …………………………...………….....……………………18
First Aid in the Circulatory System …………………………………19
Cardiac Arrest ……………………………………….….19
Bleeding …………………………………………....…..20
Glossary ……………………………………………………….………21
Index: About the Authors ………………………………….………….23
Picture Credits …………………………………………………….………..24
1
Overview of Human
Organ Systems
Humans have 12 organ systems in their bodies: The Im-
mune System, The Circulatory System, The Respiratory Sys-
tem, the Lymphatic System, the Digestive System, The Skele-
tal System, The Muscular System, The Endocrine System, The
Excretory System, The Reproduc-
tive System, The Integumentary
System, and The Nervous System.
Each of these 12 systems are re-
sponsible for carrying out unique
functions that are essential for
human life. Humans cannot live if
one of these systems malfunc-
tions. This book will focus specifi-
cally on the Circulatory System
and it’s components.

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The Circulatory
System
The Circulatory system is made up of the vessels and mus-
cles that help to control the flow of blood throughout the
body. This process is called circulation. The main parts of this
system are the heart, the
arteries, the capillaries,
and the veins through
which the blood flows. As
blood begins to circulate,
it leaves the heart from
the left ventricle and goes
into the aorta. The aorta
is the largest artery in the
body. The blood leaving
the aorta is full of oxygen.
The oxygen-rich blood
travels throughout the
body and its system of arteries into the smallest arterioles.

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Open and Closed
Systems
The Open circulatory system:
The open circulatory system is common in mollusks and arthropods.
Open circulatory systems, which evolved in crustaceans, insects, mol-
lusks and other invertebrates, pump blood into a hemocoel (a blood-
filled, open body cavity) with the blood diffusing back into the circu-
latory system between cells. Blood is pumped by the heart into the
body cavities, where tissues are surrounded by the blood.

Closed circulatory system


Vertebrates, and a few invertebrates, have a closed circulatory sys-
tem. Closed circulatory systems have the blood closed at all times
within vessels of different sizes and wall thickness. In this type of sys-
tem, blood is pumped by the heart through these vessels, and does
not normally fill body cavities.

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Functions of the
System
The Circulatory System has many functions including: Carry-
ing oxygen from the lungs to tissues
and carbon dioxide from tissues to
the lungs thereby helping in the ex-
change of gases. It supplies the oxy-
gen needed for proper functioning
of the cells. The removal of carbon
dioxide is also equally essential as it
becomes toxic to cells when present
in high amount. This system helps in
fighting against infections by using
its defense cells- the granulocytes
and agranulocytes. It prevents over
-bleeding by forming blood clots using the platelets in the
blood. Also, this system helps to maintain the proper pH of
the blood by having a buffering system present. This system
circulates all vital fluids throughout the entire body to nourish
all of the body's systems; to transport blood, hormones, white
blood cells and chemicals (artificial and natural) through the

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The Heart
The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood into the
body through veins and arteries using blood vessels. The
heart is an organ found in all animals that have a circulatory
system. Humans have a
four chambered heart,
with two superior atria
and two inferior ventricles,
in their bodies. The heart
pumps blood throughout
the body by repeated
rhythmic contractions. The
heart also has two distinct
sides, the right side and
the left side. The right side
collects de-oxygenated blood in the right atrium from the
body and then pumps the blood back into the lungs using the
right ventricle. The left side of the heart collects oxygenated
blood from the lungs into the left atrium and then oxygenizes
the blood through the process of diffusion.

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Heart Rate
Heart rate is the number of heart beats per minute (bpm),
which can vary as the body's need for oxygen changes, such
as during exercise or sleep. The measurement of heart rate is
used by medical profes-
sionals to assist in the di-
agnosis and tracking of
numerous medical condi-
tions. It is also used by in-
dividuals, such as ath-
letes, who are interested
in monitoring their heart
rate to gain maximum
efficiency from their
training. The heart rate is measured by finding the pulse of
the body. Pulse rate can be measured at any point on the
body where an artery's pulsation can be felt on the surface of
the skin. This usually occurs as the artery is pressed against
skin or bone, by pressing on it with the index and middle fin-
ger. The thumb should not be used for measuring another
person's heart rate because it has a strong pulse that may in-
terfere with discerning the site of pulsation.

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Arteries
An artery is a blood vessel that sends blood from the heart to any
part of the body. The heart pumps blood out through one main ar-
tery called the dorsal aorta.
The main artery then di-
vides and branches out in-
to many smaller arteries so
that each region of the
body has its own system of
arteries supplying it with
fresh, oxygen-rich blood.
Arteries are tough on the
outside and smooth on the
inside. An artery actually
has three layers: an outer
layer of tissue, a muscular middle layer, and an inner layer of epitheli-
al cells. The muscle in the middle is elastic and very strong. The inner
layer is very smooth so that the blood can flow easily with no obsta-
cles in its path. The muscular wall of the artery helps the heart pump
the blood. When the heart beats, the artery expands as it fills with
blood. When the heart relaxes arteries contract, which in turn exerts
a force that is strong enough to push the blood along through the
body. This rhythm between the heart and the artery results in an effi-
cient circulation system.

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Veins
Veins are similar to arteries but, because they transport
blood at a lower pressure, they are not as strong as arteries.
Like arteries, veins have
three layers: an outer layer
of tissue, muscle in the
middle layer, and a smooth
inner layer of epithelial
cells. However, the layers
are thinner, containing less
tissue. Veins receive blood
from the capillaries after an
exchange of oxygen and
carbon dioxide has taken place. Therefore, the veins transport
deoxygenated blood back to the lungs and heart. It is im-
portant that the deoxygenated blood keeps moving in the
proper direction and not be allowed to flow backward. This is
occurrence is made possible by valves that are located inside
the veins. The valves are like gates that only allow this particu-
lar type of blood to move in one direction.

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Blood
Without blood, the human body would stop working. Blood is the
considered to be the “fluid of life,” transporting oxygen from the
lungs to body tissue and carbon dioxide from body tissue to the
lungs. Blood transports nour-
ishment from digestion and
hormones from glands
throughout the body. It also
transports disease fighting
substances to the tissue and
waste to the kidneys. Because
it contains living cells, blood is
considered to be alive. Red
blood cells and white blood
cells are responsible for nourishing and cleansing the body. Since the
cells are alive, they too need nourishment, and they attain this nour-
ishment from vitamins and minerals to keep the blood healthy. The
blood cells have a definite life cycle, just as all living organisms do.
Blood cells live for about four months before being exchanged for
new cells .Approximately 55 percent of blood is plasma, a straw-
colored clear liquid. The plasma carries the solid cells and the plate-
lets which help blood clot. Without these blood platelets, humans
would bleed to death.

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The Oxygenation of
Blood
The blood gets oxygenized like so: The blood begins its
course at the left
atrium of the heart.
It then continues on
to the left ventricle,
to the arteries and
then to the arteri-
oles (the smaller ar-
teries) in the lungs.
From the arterioles,
the blood travels to
the capillaries, the smallest blood vessels in the body, where
the nutrients in the blood are exchanged for new blood ves-
sels. The newly deoxygenized blood then goes into the ven-
tricles and continues on into the veins and finally back to the
heart where the blood is pumped throughout the body.

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Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells are the most common type of blood cells
and are one of the principal means of delivering oxygen (O2)
to the body tissues through the
blood flow. They take up oxygen in
the lungs and release it while squeez-
ing through the body's capillaries.
These cells have cytoplasm that is
rich in hemoglobin, an iron-
containing molecule that can bind ox-
ygen and is responsible for the
blood's red color. Red blood cells de-
velop in the bone marrow and circulate for about 100–120
days in the body before they are replaced with new cells.

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White Blood Cells
White blood cells are cells of the immune system that de-
fend the body against both infectious diseases and foreign
materials. Five different types of
white blood cells exist, but they are
all produced in the bone marrow
from the same type of cell. White
blood cells are found throughout the
body, including the blood and lym-
phatic system. The number of White
blood cells in the blood is often a
good indicator of disease. There are
normally between 4×109 and
1.1×1010 white blood cells in a liter
of blood, making up about 1% of blood in a healthy adult. An
increase in the number of these cells is a large indicator that
the body is creating cells to fight a bacteria or virus.

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Antigens
Antigens are foreign substances that stimulate the pro-
duction of antibodies. Antigens include toxins, bacteria, for-
eign blood cells, and the cells of transplanted organs. They
exist on the surface of
Red blood cells and
continue their produc-
tion of antibodies
throughout the life span
of the cell they live on.
There are three types of
antigens: type A anti-
gens, type B antigens,
and type AB antigens.
Humans who have type A antigens have blood type A and an-
ti-B antibodies. Humans who have type B antigens, have
blood type B and anti-A antibodies, and humans who have
type A and type B antigens have blood type AB and no anti-A
or anti-B bodies. There are also people with type O blood.
This blood type is the result of a person having no antigens in
their bodies; these have type O blood and anti-A and anti-B
antibodies.

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Plasma Cells and
Platelets
Plasma cells exist on white blood cells that produce many
antibodies. Plasma is the clear, yellowish fluid portion of
blood, lymph, or intramuscular
fluid where cells are suspended.
They are also called plasma B cells,
effector B cells, and plasmocytes.
Platelets are cells that are no long-
er functional, but are essential in
the clotting of blood. They are
small, colorless, irregular blood
cells that are produced in bone
marrow and stored in the spleen.
Platelets accumulate to block a cut
in a blood vessel and provide a
surface for fiber strands. They also store and transport sever-
al chemicals.

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Heart and Circula-
tory System of Oth-
er Organisms
Mammals and Birds:
The hearts of
mammals and
birds have four
chambers –
two upper
chambers
called the atria
and two lower
chambers
called the ventricles. This is the most efficient system, as de-
oxygenated and oxygenated bloods are not mixed. The four-
chambered heart ensures that the tissues of the body are
supplied with oxygen-saturated blood and allows these warm
-blooded organisms to achieve thermoregulation (body tem-
perature maintenance).

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Heart and Circula-
tory System of Oth-
er Organisms Cont.
Amphibians and Reptiles:
Amphibians and reptiles have a
three-chambered heart. The three-
chambered heart consists of two
atria and one ventricle. The deoxy-
genated blood from the right atrium
and oxygenated blood from the left
atrium are mixed in the single ven-
tricle. The organs of these organ-
isms do not receive the fully oxy-
genated blood. These organisms
cannot achieve thermo-regulation and are thus cold blooded.

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Heart and Circula-
tory System of Oth-
er Organisms Cont.
Fish:
Fish posses the sim-
plest type of heart –
a two-chambered
organ composed of
one atrium and one
ventricle. Blood is
pumped from the ventricle to the gills. At the gills, the blood
receives oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide. Blood then
moves on to the organs of the body, where nutrients, gases,
and wastes are exchanged. The blood travels from the heart
to the gills, and then directly to the body before returning to
the atrium to be circulated again.

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First Aid in the
Circulatory System
Cardiac Arrest
Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating or beats
too weakly or irregularly to circulate blood effectively to the
bodily organs. Cardiac arrest is life-threatening because vital
organs can only live for a few minutes without receiving oxy-
gen-rich blood.
Causes of Cardiac Arrest
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of cardiac
arrest. Drowning, suffocation, and certain drugs can cause
breathing to stop leading to cardiac arrest as well.
First Aid for Cardiac Arrest
The brain and other vital organs
live only for a few minutes after
the heart stops. It is therefore
critical that the patient be given
immediate CPR, defibrillation,
and advanced emergency medi-
cal care.

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First Aid in the
Circulatory System
Bleeding
Bleeding causes the blood to escape the circulatory system
and can be life threatening depending on the volume of
blood loss.
First Aid for Severe External Bleeding
External bleeding is usually easy to control. The first aid for
external bleeding includes resting the patient to decrease the
heart rate, elevating the injured area about the heart to de-
crease the blood flow towards the injury and applying direct
pressure over the injury.
First Aid for Internal Bleeding
Warning signs of internal bleeding include pain, bruising,
swelling, and blood in vomit, spit, or
urine. The first aid for internal bleeding
includes resting the patient, placing an
ice pack over the injury and contacting
EMS immediately.

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Glossary
Circulatory system: The system made up of the vessels and
muscles that help to control the flow of blood throughout
the body.

Aorta: The largest artery in the body.

Heart: A muscular organ that pumps blood into the body


through veins and arteries using blood vessels.

Heart rate: The number of heart beats per minute (bpm),


which can vary as the body's need for oxygen changes, such
as during exercise or sleep.

Artery: A blood vessel that sends blood from the heart to any
part of the body.

Veins: While similar to arteries, they transport blood at a


lower pressure, they are not as strong as arteries.
the body tissues through the blood flow.

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Glossary (cont.)
Capillaries: The smallest blood vessels in the body, where the
nutrients in the blood are exchanged for new blood vessels.

Red blood cells: The most common type of blood cells and
are one of the principal means of delivering oxygen (O2) to
the body tissues through the blood flow.

White blood cells: Cells of the immune system that defend


the body against both infectious diseases and foreign materi-
als.

Antigens: Foreign substances that stimulate the production


of antibodies.

Plasma: Clear, yellowish fluid portion of blood, lymph, or in-


tramuscular fluid where cells are suspended.

Platelets: Cells that are no longer functional, but are essen-


tial in the clotting of blood.

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About the Authors
Rajat Goyal
Rajat Goyal is currently a 16-year-old junior at the Massachusetts Acad-
emy of Mathematics and Science located in Worcester, Massachu-
setts. Recently he performed an independent research project that ana-
lyzed the affect of Turmeric (a spice) on Escherichia coli bacteria. He has
also recently written a book review on Doctor’s Diaries (a NOVA docu-
mentary), coauthored an e-book on Topics in Toxicology. In his spare time,
Rajat enjoys skiing, biking, and karate.

Michelle Fater
Michelle Fater is currently a 15-year-old junior at the Massachusetts
Academy of Mathematics and Science located in Worcester, Massachu-
setts. Recently she performed an independent research project as well as
published several pieces of writing, coauthored a children’s book on The
Circulatory System, and coauthored an e-book on Topics in Toxicology. In
her spare time, Michelle enjoys painting, musical theatre and ballroom
dancing.

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Picture Credits
Cover Picture: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/hb/
hb_understanding.html
Pg.2: http://www.globalneighbourhood.org/k-presentation.php
Pg.3: http://doctorgrasshopper.wordpress.com/2010/03/11/tools- for-the-
toolbox-i-3-the-lub-dubber/
Pg.4: http://www2.gsu.edu/~bioasx/closeopen.html
Pg.5: http://www.heartzine.com/anatomy-physiology/the-circulatory-
system.html
Pg.6: http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2007/08/01/health/
adam/19387Circulationofbloodthroughtheheart.html
Pg.7: http://www.stormgrounds.com/wallpaper/Miscellaneous/
Heart-Rate/
Pg.8: http://www.kidney-hypertension.com/hypertension.htm
Pg.9: http://www.landholt.com/3d/arteries_and_veins/
Pg.10: http://health.nytimes.com/health/guides/specialtopic/
physical-activity/exercise's-effects-on-the-heart.html
Pg.11: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki
File:Diagram_of_the_human_heart_(cropped).svg
Pg.12: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_blood_cell
Pg.13: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_blood_cell
Pg.14: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/scireport/chapter6.asp
Pg.15: http://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/02/
Pg.16: http://www.paulnoll.com/Oregon/Birds/Avian-Circulatory.html
Pg.17:http://www.digitalfrog.com/resources/archives/circ.jpg
Pg.18:http://www.biology-resources.com/drawing-fish-circulatory-
system.html
Pg.19:http://kytostat.com/Portals/0/howItWorksGraphic.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_aid
Pg.20:http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/defibrillator-with-ecg-display-- 4.jpg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_aid

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