About This Chapter
Who's it for?
Anyone who needs help learning or mastering MCAT material will benefit from taking this course. You will be able to grasp the subject matter faster, retain critical knowledge longer and earn higher scores. You're in the right place if you:
- Have fallen behind in understanding the structure and function of circulatory system components
- Need an efficient way to learn about the circulatory system
- Learn best with engaging auditory and visual tools
- Struggle with learning disabilities or learning differences, including autism and ADHD
- Experience difficulty understanding your teachers
- Missed class time and need to catch up
- Can't access extra MCAT review resources at school
How it works:
- Start at the beginning, or identify the topics that you need help with.
- Watch and learn from fun videos, reviewing as needed.
- Refer to the video transcripts to reinforce your learning.
- Test your understanding of each lesson with short quizzes.
- Submit questions to one of our instructors for personalized support if you need extra help.
- Verify you're ready by completing the Circulatory System Overview for the MCAT chapter exam.
Why it works:
- Study Efficiently: Skip what you know, review what you don't.
- Retain What You Learn: Engaging animations and real-life examples make topics easy to grasp.
- Be Ready on Test Day: Use the Circulatory System Overview for the MCAT chapter exam to be prepared.
- Get Extra Support: Ask our subject-matter experts any circulatory system question. They're here to help!
- Study With Flexibility: Watch videos on any web-ready device.
Students will review:
In this chapter, you'll learn the answer to questions including:
- What is the anatomy of the heart?
- What are the phases in the cardiac cycle?
- How does the heart's intrinsic conduction system set its own beat?
- How does the heart maintain an adequate heart rate and stroke volume?
- How do baroreceptors regulate blood pressure?
- What factors contribute to regulation of blood flow?
- What is the role of capillaries and capillary beds?
- What are the layers of a blood vessel?
- What pattern do pulmonary arteries and veins follow?
- What is the path of the aorta and other coronary arteries?
- How do the Venae Cavae and coronary veins function?
- What do red and white blood cells do?
- What is the structure and function of hemoglobin?
- How does the body promote blood coagulation and wound healing?
- What is the Rh blood group system?
- Why don't the different blood groups mix?
1. The Human Circulatory System: Parts and Functions
In this lesson, you will take a ride on the transportation system of the body called the circulatory system and its two parts: the pulmonary circuit and the systemic circuit. Take a look inside and see how every inch of your body receives the oxygen and nutrients it needs.
2. Anatomy of the Heart: Blood Flow and Parts
In this lesson, you will take a look inside the heart and identify the chambers and one-way valves that make up this vital organ. You will also follow along as we trace the flow of blood through the heart chambers.
3. The Cardiac Cycle: Phases, Explanation & Terms
In this lesson, you will learn what happens during each heartbeat, or cardiac cycle. You will also learn that the heartbeat involves periods of relaxation and contraction, known as diastole and systole, respectively.
4. Heartbeat and Heart Contraction Coordination
In this lesson you will learn about your heart's very own regulatory system, the intrinsic conduction system, and how it sets the pace for a normal, healthy heartbeat. You will discover that your heart moves to its own beat thanks to the natural pacemaker of the heart called the SA node.
5. Heart Rate, Cardiac Output & Stroke Volume
The amount of blood your heart pumps is constantly changing to meet the needs of your body. In this lesson, you will learn how the heart maintains an adequate cardiac output, heart rate and stroke volume.
6. Regulation of Heart Rate and Stroke Volume
The amount of blood being pumped through your body changes constantly due to the demands of daily life. In this lesson, you will learn how your body adjusts the heart rate and stroke volume to increase or decrease blood flow.
7. Regulation of Blood Pressure: Short Term Regulation & Baroreceptors
Blood pressure in your blood vessels is closely monitored by baroreceptors; they send messages to the cardio regulatory center of your medulla oblongata to regulate your blood pressure minute-by-minute. In this lesson, you will learn how baroreceptors regulate your short-term blood pressure.
8. Total Peripheral Resistance & Blood Flow Regulation
Blood flows continually through your heart and blood vessels. As the needs of the body change, blood flow needs to increase or decrease. Learn how vasodilation, vasoconstriction and other factors change the amount of resistance within your blood vessels to change blood flow through your body.
9. Blood Vessels: Arteries, Capillaries & More
In this lesson, you will take a trip around the circulatory system and encounter the various blood vessels, including arteries, veins, and capillaries. Come along as we follow the path to every cell of your body.
10. Blood Vessel Layers: Tunica Intima, Tunica Media & Tunica Adventitia
In this lesson, you will take a microscopic look at the three layers, or tunics, that make up your blood vessels. Follow along and learn how the different cells within these tunics help the vessels contract and relax as blood moves through your circulatory system.
11. Major Blood Vessels Between the Heart and Lungs: Pulmonary Trunk, Arteries & Veins
In this lesson you will learn about the main blood vessels that travel between the heart and lungs. You will also discover that these arteries and veins follow a somewhat unusual pattern.
12. Major Blood Vessels That Carry Blood Away From the Heart
Do you know which arteries are typically blocked during a heart attack? In this lesson, you will learn about the major blood vessels that feed the heart, brain and upper body. Then, find out what causes the pain known as angina.
13. Major Blood Vessels: Descending Aorta - Thoracic and Abdominal Aorta
The aorta is the largest artery of your body, and it is a strong and sturdy vessel. In this lesson, you will learn about its downward path through the chest and abdomen and discover the organs and structures supplied by its branches.
14. Major Blood Vessels Leading to the Heart: Superior Vena Cava, Inferior Vena Cava & Coronary Sinus
In this lesson, you will learn about the main blood vessel that returns blood to the heart called the Venae Cavae. You'll also learn about its two sections: the Superior and Inferior Vena Cava. You will then discover the special drainage system for the heart called the Coronary Sinus.
15. Functions of Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells & Platelets
Blood is a connective tissue vital to our body's survival. In this lesson, we will explore the three functions of blood by delving into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets - the three individual components that make up blood as a whole.
16. Circulatory System IV: Red Blood Cells
Why don't mature red blood cells have nuclei or mitochondria, and how do these guys squeeze through capillaries? While learning about the brief but glorious lives of red blood cells, you'll also see which characteristics help them transport oxygen and carbon dioxide to other cells.
17. Circulatory System V: Hemoglobin
Did you ever wonder how red blood cells can store enough oxygen to supply the entire human body? Join us in this lesson on hemoglobin to learn why red blood cells are so good at transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide. This lesson will make you see red (as well as blue and purple-maroon)!
18. Blood Coagulation and Wound Healing
When your blood vessels suffer damage, your body follows a sequence of events to promote blood clotting. In this lesson, you will learn about coagulation cascade and important clotting factors involved in wound healing.
19. Rh Blood Group, Rh Factor & Erythroblastosis Fetalis
Rh factor is a red blood cell antigen found in most people. Those with Rh factor are Rh positive, while those without are Rh negative. In this lesson you will learn about Rh blood compatibility and its importance during pregnancy.
20. Blood Types: ABO System, Red Blood Cell Antigens & Blood Groups
You are either blood type A, B, AB or O. But, did you know that your blood type is determined by microscopic antigens found on your red blood cells? In this lesson, you will learn about the different blood groups and why they do not mix.
21. Systemic Circuit: Definition& Blood Flow
In this lesson, you will explore a part of your circulatory system known as the systemic circuit. You will learn how it delivers blood to your tissues and then returns it to your heart. A quiz at the end of the lesson will test your knowledge.
22. Apical Pulse: Definition & Location
In this lesson, you'll learn what the apical pulse is and how it relates to the heart's functions. You will also explore its location in the body and how to take an apical pulse measurement.
23. Capillary Beds: Definition & Functions
Nutrients and gases needed by your body cells are transported through your cardiovascular system. But in order for those materials to feed your cells, they must leak out of the system through the capillary beds. Learn how capillary beds work.
24. What Is the Composition of Blood?
This lesson is going to cover the materials of which blood is composed. We will explore the parts that make up the solid and liquid portions of blood and discuss how these are maintained.
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