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Laura Spenceley Task 2 - Cardiovascular Anatomy & Physiology Cardiovascular System – Blood Circulation When a heart contracts and pushes blood into blood vessels, there is a specific path that the blood follows through the body. The blood moves first through pulmonary circulation and then carries on through systemic circulation. Pulmonary and systemic are the two circuits in the two-circuit system of humans with our closed circulatory systems. Pulmonary Circulation Deoxygenated blood enters the right atrium via the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava. From the right atrium, the deoxygenated blood drains into the right ventricle through the right atrioventricular valve. This valve is also referred to as the tricuspid valve because it has three sections in its structure. When the ventricles contract, the atrioventricular valve closes off the opening between the ventricle and the atrium so that blood does not flow back up into the atrium. As the right ventricle contracts, it forces the deoxygenated blood through the pulmonary semilunar valve and into the pulmonary artery. It should be noted that this artery is the exception in the body as it carries deoxygenated blood; all other arteries carry oxygenated blood. The semilunar valve keeps blood from flowing back into the right ventricle once it is in the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary artery carries the blood that is very low in oxygen to the lungs, where it becomes oxygenated. Systemic Circulation Newly oxygenated blood returns to the heart via the pulmonary veins. It should be noted that these are the only veins in the body that carry oxygenated blood; all other veins carry deoxygenated blood. The pulmonary veins enter the left atrium. When the left atrium relaxes, the oxygenated blood drains into the left ventricle through the left AV valve. This valve is also called the bicuspid valve because it has only two sections in its structure. Next the heart really compresses. As the left ventricle contracts, the oxygenated blood is pumped into the main artery of the body, the Aorta. To get to the aorta, blood passes through the aortic semilunar valve, which operates to keep blood from flowing from the aorta back into the left ventricle. The aorta branches off into other arteries, which follow and branch into smaller arterioles. The arterioles meet up with capillaries, which are the blood vessels where oxygen is exchanged for carbon dioxide.