Arterial and Venous Systems

  • Although the cardiovascular system is referred to as one unit, it is actually two separate systems which work independently.
  • Through the arterial supply, oxygenated blood is distributed from the lungs to the left heart and aorta, and eventually to within 5 cells of every cell in the body. The arteries divide into smaller arteries, then into arterioles, which in turn divide into capillaries. Oxygen exchange takes place at the level of the capillaries, vessels whose walls are only one cell thick.
  • In the venous system, deoxygenated blood drains from the capillaries, which conjoin into venules, small veins, veins, and the major draining vessels – the superior and inferior venae cavae. This blood then enters the right heart and travels to the lungs to re- oxygenate and start the cycle again.

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