Systemic Circulation

Systemic circulation is the movement of blood between the heart and all parts of the body except the lungs. Trace the path blood follows in systemic circulation in Figure 46-9. Notice that oxygenated blood is pumped out of the left ventricle and into the aorta. From the aorta, blood flows into other subsystems of systemic circulation.

Coronary circulation is the subsystem of systemic circulation that supplies blood to the heart itself. If blood flow in the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart, is reduced or cut off, muscle cells will die. This can happen when an artery is blocked by a blood clot or by atherosclerosis (ATH-uhr-oh-skler-OH-sis), a disease characterized by the buildup of fatty materials on the interior walls of the coronary arteries. Either type of blockage can lead to a heart attack.

Hepatic portal circulation is a subsystem of systemic circulation. Nutrients are picked up by capillaries in the small intestine and are transported by the blood to the liver. Excess nutrients are stored in the liver for future needs. The liver receives oxygenated blood from a large artery that branches from the aorta.

Renal circulation, another subsystem of systemic circulation, supplies blood to the kidneys. Nearly one-fourth of the blood that is pumped into the aorta by the left ventricle flows to the kidneys. The kidneys filter waste from the blood.

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