Mammalian Heart and Blood Vessels

Free Response

Describe the cardiac cycle.


The heart receives an electrical signal from the sinoatrial node triggering the cardiac muscle cells in the atria to contract. The signal pauses at the atrioventricular node before spreading to the walls of the ventricles so the blood is pumped through the body. This is the systolic phase. The heart then relaxes in the diastole and fills again with blood.

What happens in capillaries?


The capillaries basically exchange materials with their surroundings. Their walls are very thin and are made of one or two layers of cells, where gases, nutrients, and waste are diffused. They are distributed as beds, complex networks that link arteries as well as veins.