The bulk flow of blood throughout the body is driven by pressure gradients created by the pumping action of the heart. A vast network of blood vessels includes arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules and veins. This network has two branches, the pulmonary circulation, which carries blood to and from the lungs and the systemic circulation, which delivers blood to the cells throughout the body and and removes wastes for excretion. While at any moment only about 5% of the total blood volume is flowing through the capillaries, it is in the capillaries that the main functions of the circulatory system take place, which are the provision of nutrients to the cells and the removal of metabolic end products. The overall purpose of the circulatory system is to provide adequate blood flow to the capillaries.
While physics underlies biological science in a general way, especially through chemistry, there are some topics where specific physics concepts are directly relevant in a particularly straightforward way. These topics become favorite subjects for a certain type of MCAT passage where the direct application of basic physics concepts allows those concepts to be tested within the biological context. The application of geometric optics concepts to the human eye is an example, and likewise, with the cardiovascular system, the application of fluid mechanics concepts. This means that the cardiovascular system will not only be important for the exam in terms of physiological homeostasis but also for Bernoulli's principle and Poiseuille's law.
The Cardiovascular System Images
Conceptual Vocabulary Self-Test
Basic Terms Crossword Puzzle
Basic Puzzle Solution
Conceptual Vocabulary for The Cardiovascular System