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Pulmonary Arteries: Function & Anatomy

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  • 0:00 Definition of…
  • 0:26 The Networked Highway…
  • 1:20 Delivery of Nutrients…
  • 2:27 The Pulmonary Artery…
  • 3:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lori Holloway
The last segment of a long journey for circulating blood is to pass through the pulmonary artery. In this lesson, discover the networked highways of the cardiovascular system, and why the pulmonary artery breaks all the rules.

Definition of Pulmonary Arteries

The pulmonary artery transports blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lung tissue. This is the last stop on a long journey for the carbon dioxide saturated blood. The old term for this type of blood was dirty blood, but really, is there dirt in the blood? No. In this lesson, we will use the term carbon dioxide laden blood instead.

The Networked Highway System for Blood

The cardiovascular system is like our highway system. There are interstate roadways, state highways and secondary roads, all the way down to the side streets that you may live on. The cardiovascular system has compatible structures: arteries and veins (interstates), arterioles and venules(state highways) and finally the capillaries (secondary or local roads).

While the cardiovascular system is the body's networked highway system, it is important to note that the cardiovascular system does not create or use blood products. It simply allows for the transport of oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to cells, and the removal of metabolic wastes such as carbon dioxide, heat and nitrogenous wastes from cells. Other functions associated with the cardiovascular system are regulation and protection.

Delivery of Nutrients and Removal of Waste

Highly oxygenated blood leaving the lung tissue will travel the cardiovascular highway system to an individual cell somewhere in the body. We will use the big toe as an example. When oxygen enters the blood stream in the lung, it begins the long journey of transport. Passing through the heart and into the aorta, through arterioles, and eventually transitioning out of the cardiovascular system through a capillary bed in the big toe.

At the individual cell, oxygen and nutrients are dropped off, and carbon dioxide and waste products enter the bloodstream through the same capillary bed. The long journey home begins. The blood returns to the heart from the capillaries, to the venules, veins, and finally into the vena cava, through the two chambers of the heart, and into the pulmonary artery.

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