cardiovascular system

(¦kärd·ē·ō′vas·kyə·lər ′sis·təm)

(anatomy) Those structures, including the heart and blood vessels, which provide channels for the flow of blood.


Britannica Concise Encyclopedia:

cardiovascular system

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The heart, located between the lungs, powers the circulatory system.
The heart, located between the lungs, powers the circulatory system. (credit: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.)
System of vessels that convey blood to and from tissues throughout the body, bringing nutrients and oxygen and removing wastes and carbon dioxide. It is essentially a long, closed tube through which blood moves in a double circuitone through the lungs (pulmonary circulation) and one through the rest of the body (systemic circulation). The heart pumps blood through the arteries, which branch into smaller arterioles, which feed into microscopic capillaries ( artery; capillary). These converge to form small venules, which join to become larger veins, generally following the same path as the arteries back to the heart. Cardiovascular diseases include atherosclerosis, congenital and rheumatic heart disease, and vascular inflammation.

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Those structures, such as the heart, or pumping mechanism, and the arteries, veins, and capillaries, which provide channels for the flow of blood. The cardiovascular system is sometimes called the blood-vascular system. The circulatory system includes both the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems; the latter consists of lymph channels (lymphatics), nodes, and fluid lymph which finally empties into the bloodstream. See also Blood; Heart (vertebrate); Hematopoiesis; Lymphatic system.

Circulatory physiology describes the structure and operation of the circulation in living animals, and enquires as to how or why the circulatory system may have evolved. The circulatory system in all vertebrates has multiple functions, but all functions are involved in regulating the internal environment of the animal (promoting homeostasis). In all vertebrates the circulatory system consists of a central pump, the heart, which drives a liquid transport medium, the blood, continuously around a closed system of tubes, the vascular system. The arterial portion of this system is divided into larger elastic and smaller resistance vessels (arterioles) which distribute blood to specialized regions or organs where transfer of nutrients, oxygen, or waste products takes place across the walls of a fine network of microscopic capillaries. Blood from the capillaries passes through the venules (small venous vessels) into the main vein and returns to the heart. The arterioles, venules, and capillaries make up the microcirculation, which is arguably the most important functional role of the vertebrate circulatory system from a functional point of view.

Cardiovascular system disorders are those disorders which involve the arteries, veins, and lymphatics. See also Arteriosclerosis; Phlebitis.


Oxford Food & Fitness Dictionary:

cardiovascular system

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The body system, consisting of the heart and blood vessels, which circulates blood around the body.

Oxford Companion to the Body:

cardiovascular system

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Cardiovascular system (Click to enlarge)
Cardiovascular system
(Click to enlarge)

A system in the body consisting of the heart, blood vessels, and blood that delivers nutrients to the body's various cells and removes waste products.

Cardiovascular system (Click to enlarge)
Cardiovascular system
(Click to enlarge)

Mosby's Dental Dictionary:

cardiovascular system

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n

The network of structures, including the heart and blood vessels, that convey the blood throughout the body.

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