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Systemic Circulation: It's All Throughout the Body

Systemic circulation supplies nourishment to all of the tissue located throughout your body, with the exception of the heart and lungs because they have their own systems. Systemic circulation is a major part of the overall circulatory system.

The blood vessels (arteries, veins, and capillaries) are responsible for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissue. Oxygen-rich blood enters the blood vessels through the heart's main artery called the aorta. The forceful contraction of the heart's left ventricle forces the blood into the aorta which then branches into many smaller arteries which run throughout the body. The inside layer of an artery is very smooth, allowing the blood to flow quickly. The outside layer of an artery is very strong, allowing the blood to flow forcefully. The oxygen-rich blood enters the capillaries where the oxygen and nutrients are released. The waste products are collected and the waste-rich blood flows into the veins in order to circulate back to the heart where pulmonary circulation will allow the exchange of gases in the lungs.

During systemic circulation, blood passes through the kidneys. This phase of systemic circulation is known as renal circulation. During this phase, the kidneys filter much of the waste from the blood. Blood also passes through the small intestine during systemic circulation. This phase is known as portal circulation. During this phase, the blood from the small intestine collects in the portal vein which passes through the liver. The liver filters sugars from the blood, storing them for later.

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You are viewing a page in The Franklin Institute's online exploration of the human heart. It is one of many Resources for Science Learning which inspire scientific curiosity.

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