After studying this chapter, the reader should be able to

Understand the functions and layout of the cardiovascular system and describe the following:

General functions of the pulmonary and systemic circulations, the pumps and circuitry, with an understanding of the pressure, area and velocity of flow in the vessels.

The distribution of blood volume in the cardiovascular system and the organ distribution of the cardiac output.

Understand the functions of the heart and describe the following:

The functional anatomy of the heart, structure of the muscular walls, the coronary arteries, cardiac energy production and nerve supply.

The ionic basis of cardiac action potentials, the relationship between cardiac muscle contraction and refractory periods and excitation–contraction coupling in cardiac muscle cells.

The generation and conduction of the cardiac action potential, the progress of the potential through the chambers of the heart and electrocardiography.

The mechanical events of the cardiac cycle, with knowledge of the biophysical determinants of cardiac muscle contraction from isolated preparations, studies of performance of the whole heart and ventricular pressure–volume relationships.

The effect of the autonomic nervous system on cardiac performance.

Understand the physical factors governing blood flow through vessels and describe the following:

Poiseuille’s equation, and observed physiological deviations from Poiseuille’s equation.

The relationship between pressure and flow in vessels of the systemic circulation with a description of the total fluid energy comprising potential and kinetic energies.

Understand the role of the vessels of systemic circulation and describe

The role of arteries, arterioles, capillaries, lymphatics and veins.

The determination of arterial blood pressure.

The relationship between the return of blood to the heart and the cardiac output.

Understand the control of the cardiovascular system and describe the following:

The organization of the autonomic nervous system and the central and peripheral control of the cardiovascular system.

The integration of the control of the cardiovascular system.

The efferent pathways and effectors of the cardiovascular system, sensors and measured variables, and effects of the arterial baroreceptor reflex on arterial blood pressure.

The control of special circulations including the heart, skeletal muscle, splanchnic, kidneys, the brain, skin and lungs.

Understand the integrated cardiovascular responses to haemorrhage, the Valsalva manoeuvre and exercise.