This topic covers the structure of the heart and blood vessels. The cells in the blood are covered in another topic (Blood).

By working through this topic, you should be able to follow how the basic structure of the heart and blood vessels changes from arteries through to capillaries and then veins, and how the layers present in the blood vessels change as an adaptation to their function.


By the time you have finished this topic and any additional reading you should know:

  1. The interrelationships and functions of the different parts of the cardiovascular system,
  2. The common structural plan seen in most components of the cardiovascular system, and how their common structure is modified and adapted to fulfil different functions in these different parts of the cardiovascular system.
  3. The structure of the heart, arteries and veins, how to recognise the different types of arteries, veins, and capillaries, and the essential differences are between arteries and veins.
  4. The structure of three different types of capillaries, and how their structure is related to their function.
  5. How changes occurring in some common diseases may affect the structure and functioning of the cardiovascular system.

Circulatory system Keywords