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Functions of the Cardiovascular System

Dhanya Joy Sep 30, 2018
Cardiovascular system is one of the important organ systems of the human body that performs several vital functions like the transportation of blood and oxygen and the regulation of body temperature.
The heart is one of the most vital components of the human cardiovascular system, which is a complex organ system that performs the vital function of distributing blood throughout the body. Blood is transported to various parts of the body through a network of arteries, veins and capillaries.
The components of this body system works in tandem to facilitate the task of distribution of blood and vital nutrients throughout the body.

Functions of the Cardiovascular System:

The functions that are performed by this organ system can be categorized into three main domains: transport, regulation and protection. The heart and blood vessels carry out these functions in coordination with the other systems for the proper functioning of the body.


The components of the cardiovascular system work collectively so as to transport oxygen from the lungs to the various cells of the body. Oxygen and nutrients that are assimilated in the blood after the process of digestion are circulated via blood to various parts of the body.
The removal of carbon dioxide which is produced by the cells and transportation of hormones from various endocrine glands are also performed by this organ system. This function of transport is mainly carried out by blood and the network of blood vessels.


White blood cells that are present in the blood protect the body from infection and diseases. Proteins and antibodies required for destroying viruses, bacteria and disease-causing germs are also provided by blood to the various parts of the body.
Another important function is to protect the body from excessive blood loss through the process of blood clotting during an injury.


Another important function is the regulation of the concentration of hydrogen ions (pH) in the body, and the regulation of the body temperature and body heat. It also regulates the salt and water content of the cells in the body.

Components of the Cardiovascular System

The Heart

The human heart is the key organ of the cardiovascular system.
The heart has four chambers, and is approximately the size of a clenched fist. The upper chambers of the heart are called right atrium and the left atrium. The lower chambers are known as the right ventricle and the left ventricle.
Mitral valve and the tricuspid valve are atrioventricular valves that are situated between the atria and the ventricles. While the mitral valve is located between the left atrium and the left ventricle, the tricuspid valve is located between the right atrium and the right ventricle. These valves open and close as the heart contracts and relaxes.
Pulmonary valve and aortic valve are semilunar valves that are located at the base of the pulmonary artery and the aorta respectively.

Deoxygenated blood from the body enters the right atrium. When the atrium contracts, blood passes to right ventricle through the tricuspid valve. Pulmonary valve contracts with the contraction of the right ventricle.
Blood passes from the pulmonary artery to the lungs. While the right atrium and right ventricle get the deoxygenated blood from the veins and pump it into the lungs, the left atrium and left ventricle receive the oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps this blood to the various parts of the body.
The contraction of the left atrium is followed by the opening of the mitral valve. Blood enters the left ventricle. As the left ventricle contracts, the aortic valve opens. Blood enters the aorta, and this oxygen-rich blood is circulated to the body.


Blood is a specialized body fluid that is constantly being circulated around the body with the help of heart and the blood vessels. While the lungs enrich the deoxygenated blood with oxygen, the heart pumps oxygenated blood to various parts of the body.
Blood contains plasma, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. While white blood cells help in protecting the body from disease-causing agents, red blood cells help carry oxygen to the tissues. Platelets play a vital role in coagulation of blood.
Blood helps transport oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and organs of the body. The process of disposal of metabolic wastes to the excretory organs is also carried out with the help of blood.
Blood vessels are categorized into arteries, capillaries and veins.
Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body. Aorta and the coronary arteries are systemic arteries. Aorta is the large trunk artery that carries oxygenated blood from the left ventricle, coronary arteries supply blood to the heart.
Pulmonary artery carries deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs. Arterioles are arteries from which blood from the heart is carried to the veins.
Capillaries are small blood vessels that connect the arterioles to the small veins called venules. These small veins branch into a network of larger veins that carry blood to vena cava, which is the largest vein in the human body.
Deoxygenated blood from the upper half and the lower half of the body is carried to the right atrium by superior vena cava and inferior vena cava respectively. The blood is then pumped into the lungs for oxygen absorption. The oxygenated blood is then pumped into the left side of the heart and from here the arteries carry it to the other parts of the body.
The capillaries distribute oxygen and nutrients supplied to them by the arteries and remove waste products from the blood stream.
All the organs of the cardiovascular system must work in tandem to provide the tissues and organs of the body with oxygen and nutrients. To keep them healthy, it is essential to eat right, exercise and follow a healthy lifestyle.