Cardiopulmonary anatomy and physiology is a study of the heart and lungs and their respective functions within the body. The heart is responsible for pumping blood through the circulatory system, while the lungs take in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
This topic is essential for respiratory therapists as they must understand the human body and how it works to provide optimal care for their patients.
In this study guide, we’ve listed several practice questions on the topic of cardio A&P. This can help you practice, prepare, and learn the information you need in order to pass your final exam on this topic.
Note: We didn’t include the correct answers on this page so that you can test your knowledge. If you want to see the correct answers, you can download them for FREE using the link below.
Cardio A&P Final Exam Practice Questions:
1. As the respiratory therapist, you have given supplemental oxygen to a patient with pneumonia. What would cause the patient to be hypoxemic?
1. Diffusion defect
2. Capillary shunting
3. Alveolar consolidation
A. 1 and 2
B. 2 and 3
C. 1 and 3
D. all of the above
2. When auscultating over an area of pneumonia, what breath sound can be expected?
3. A patient has been admitted to the emergency department with the following arterial blood gas results:
PaCO2 30 torr
PaO2 85 torr
HCO3- 24 mEq/L
The physician asks the respiratory therapist what the results show. The therapist should interpret the results as:
A. metabolic alkalosis.
B. respiratory acidosis.
C. metabolic acidosis.
D. respiratory alkalosis.
4. A respiratory therapist enters the room of a patient with congestive heart failure (CHF) who has recently become febrile and tachycardic. The patient is very weak and apathetic and faints upon sitting up. The therapist then calls for the nurse. After the therapist ensures that the patient has regained consciousness, he recommends that an electrolyte panel be ordered. Upon analysis of the patient’s electrolyte levels, the therapist should expect to find that the patient is
5. The respiratory therapist is evaluating the record of an adult patient. A note in the record indicates that the chest radiograph shows the level of the diaphragm just below the 10th rib. This finding is consistent with:
A. amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
B. a normal finding.
6. The respiratory therapist is reviewing the record of a patient for whom an arterial blood gas test has been ordered. In order to properly prepare for the arterial puncture, which of the following lab values is most critical to review?
B. serum sodium
C. prothrombin time
D. alkaline phosphatase
7. Clinical lab evaluations of a patient with known allergic reactions would most likely reveal
A. decreased basophils.
B. increased eosinophils.
C. decreased eosinophils.
D. decreased neutrophils.
8. A patient’s complete blood count (CBC) shows that the white blood count (WBC) is twice the high end of the normal range. This indicates:
D. viral infection.
9. An elderly patient with a history of very significant emphysema presents to the emergency department (ED) with shortness of breath. The ED physician asks the respiratory therapist which value in the patient’s ABG analysis would be most reflective of the severity of the patient’s pulmonary disease. The therapist’s response should be:
10. The respiratory therapist reviews the patient’s electrocardiogram (ECG) tracing and notes ST-segment depression. This finding most strongly indicates:
A. a decreased sodium level.
B. respiratory acidosis.
C. an elevated potassium level.
D. cardiac ischemia.
11. Which type of epithelial tissue is found lining the heart, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels?
A. Simple squamous epithelium
B. Simple cuboidal epithelium
C. Stratified squamous epithelium
D. Stratified cuboidal epithelium
12. Which of the following types of tissues is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body?
A. skeletal muscle
B. smooth muscle
C. cardiac muscle
D. intercalated cells
13. Which of the following is NOT one of the main tissue types found in the human body?
14. Which of the following is not one of the three main factors influencing blood pressure?
A. cardiac output
B. peripheral resistance
C. emotional state
D. blood volume
15. Which statement best describes arteries?
A. All carry oxygenated blood to the heart.
B. All carry blood away from the heart.
C. All contain valves to prevent the backflow of blood.
D. Only large arteries are lined with endothelium.
16. Permitting the exchange of nutrients and gases between the blood and tissue cells is the primary function of _______.
17. The pulse pressure is ________.
A. systolic pressure plus diastolic pressure
B. systolic pressure minus diastolic pressure
C. systolic pressure divided by diastolic pressure
D. diastolic pressure plus 1/3 (systolic pressure plus diastolic pressure)
18. Blood flow to the skin ________.
A. is controlled mainly by decreasing pH
B. increases when environmental temperature rises
C. increases when body temperature drops so that the skin does not freeze
D. is not an important source of nutrients and oxygen for skin cells
19. Which of the choices below does not involve tissue perfusion?
A. delivery of oxygen and nutrients to, and removal of wastes from, tissue cells
B. gas exchange in the lungs
C. absorption of nutrients from the digestive tract
D. blood clotting
20. The arteries that directly feed into the capillary beds are called ________.
A. muscular arteries
B. elastic arteries
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A. An increase in cardiac output corresponds to a decrease in blood pressure, due to the increased delivery.
B. Systemic vasodilation would increase blood pressure, due to
C. Excess protein production would decrease blood pressure.
D. Excess red cell production would cause a blood pressure increase
22. Where in the body would you find low oxygen levels causing vasoconstriction and high levels causing vasodilation?
23. Which of the following blood pressure readings would be indicative of hypertension?
A. 120/80 in a 30-year-old man
B. 140/90 in a 70-year-old woman
C. 170/96 in a 50-year-old man
D. 110/60 in a 20-year-old woman
24. When the body cannot get enough oxygen, it makes ATP via:
A. aerobic metabolism
B. anaerobic metabolism
25. After inhaled air goes through the larynx, the NEXT part of the respiratory system the air passes through as it moves to the lungs is the:
26. The chamber that pumps oxygen-rich blood out of the heart for distribution to the rest of the body is the:
A. right atrium
B. right ventricle
C. left atrium
D. left ventricle
27. The largest artery in the body is the:
28. The component of the blood that has a primary function of carrying oxygen tissue is:
A. red blood cells
C. white blood cells
29. The pressure created in the arteries when blood is forced out of the heart is referred to as:
30. The substance that regulates acidity and is produced by the kidneys is called:
31. Electrical signals called _____ travel along the plasma membrane of a neuron and stimulate the release of chemicals called _____ that are then used to communicate with other cells.
A. action potentials; neurotransmitters
B. action potentials; hormones
C. action potentials; cytokines
D. threshold potentials; cytokines
32. Which of the following describes the effect of end-diastolic volume on stroke volume?
A. A decrease in end-diastolic volume creates a vacuum drawing more blood into the ventricle increasing stroke volume.
B. An increase in end-diastolic volume stretches ventricular muscle cells to lengths greater than optimum, decreasing stroke volume.
C. A decrease in end-diastolic volume allows cardiac muscle to relax, conserving energy for the next contraction, thereby increasing stroke volume of that next contraction.
D. An increase in end-diastolic volume stretches ventricular muscle cells to lengths closer to optimum, increasing the strength of contraction and thereby increasing stroke volume.
33. The period of ventricular contraction is called ___________, whereas the period of ventricular relaxation is called_________.
B. action potential: graded potential
34. Which of the following components of an ECG represent ventricular repolarization?
A. P wave
B. QRS complex
C. T wave
D. PQ interval
35. Which of the following factors determines preload?
A. peripheral resistance and tension
B. end-diastolic volume and end-systolic volume
C. parasympathetic activity of the ventricles
D. heart rate and venous return
36. An increase in venous return would result in a(n)
A. increased end-systolic volume.
B. increased end-diastolic volume.
C. decreased end-systolic volume.
D. increase mid-systolic volume.
37. Cardiac output is determined by what two variable?
A. end-diastolic volume and end-systolic volume
B. preload and afterload
C. heart rate and stroke volume
D. heart rate and end diastolic volume
38. Blood is ejected from the left ventricle once the pressure within the:
A. ventricle is greater than the pressure within the aorta.
B. ventricle is less than the pressure within the aorta.
C. ventricle is greater than the pressure within the pulmonary artery.
D. ventricle is less than the pressure within the pulmonary artery.
39. What two major regions of the heart contain a concentration of pacemaker cells?
A. sinoatrial node and bundle of His
B. sinoatrial node and atrioventricular node
C. sinoatrial node and Purkinje fibers
D. bundle of His and Purkinje fibers
40. The T-Q segment is the time from the end of the T wave to the beginning of the QRS complex which measures the time:
A. of atrial systole.
B. between heartbeats.
C. of ventricular systole.
D. of ventricular diastole.
41. Which of the following is the correct conduction pathway through the heart?
A. AV node, SA node, AV bundle, bundle branches, Purkinje fibers
B. SA node, AV node, bundle branches, AV bundle, Purkinje fibers
C. SA node, AV node, AV bundle, bundle branches, Purkinje fibers
D. Purkinje fibers, AV bundle, bundle branches, SA node, AV node
42. In what phase is the cardiac cycle when AV valves are open and semilunar valves are closed?
A. atrial contraction
B. ventricular filling
C. isovolumetric contraction
D. ventricular ejection
43. The volume of blood that is pumped by the heart every minute is determined by the equation
A. EF = EDV – ESV
B. CO = HR x SV
C. MAP = CO x TPR
D. SV = EDV – ESV
44. During which phase of the cardiac cycle are all four heart valves open?
A. isovolumetric contraction
B. isovolumetric relaxation
C. ventricular filling
D. none of the above
45. The high compliance of veins allows them to:
A. rapidly change central venous pressure with small changes in blood volume.
B. act as pressure reservoirs
C. provide the driving force for the movement of blood through the vasculature during diastole.
D. accommodate large volumes of blood with little change in pressure.
46. An increase in heart rate can be mediated through which of the following?
A. a decrease in parasympathetic nervous activity only
B. a decrease in sympathetic activity only
C. an increase in parasympathetic activity and a decrease in sympathetic activity
D. a decrease in parasympathetic activity and an increase in sympathetic activity
47. The long-term regulation of arterial blood pressure involves the:
A. release of hormones over a period of minutes
B. stimulation of an increase in urine flow through the kidneys
C. control of peripheral resistance
D. control of blood volume by the kidneys
48. Mean arterial pressure can be increased by all of the following EXCEPT:
B. increasing venous return
C. increasing sympathetic activity
D. increasing blood volume
49. Poiseuille’s Law states that at a constant driving pressure, the flow rate of liquid through a capillary tube is directly proportional to the ____ power of the radius of the tube and inversely proportional to the length and viscosity of the tube.
50. Which of the following does not apply to arterioles?
A. Participate in the regulation of arterial blood pressure
B. Act as pressure reservoirs for maintaining blood flow during ventricular relaxation
C. Major sites of resistance to flow
D. Responsible for regulating the pattern of blood flow distribution to the various organs
51. Acetylcholine causes _____ of bronchioles via _____ receptors.
A. Dilation; Beta 2
B. Dilation; Muscarinic cholinergic
C. Constriction; Beta 2
D. Constriction; Muscarinic cholinergic
52. The air conduction pathways
A. Warm and humidify air
B. Increase air pressure
C. Decrease air pressure
D. Participate in gas exchange
53. Gas exchange between air and blood occurs in
54. Albuterol, an asthma medication, dilates bronchioles by mimicking the effects of epinephrine on _____ receptors in smooth muscle.
A. Nicotinic cholinergic
B. Muscarinic cholinergic
C. alpha1 adrenergic
D. beta2 adrenergic
55. When the diaphragm contracts, the intrapulmonary pressure decreases relative to atmospheric pressure, resulting in:
C. Forced Expiration
D. Forced Inspiration
56. When inflated, alveoli have relatively______, which aids in expiration.
A. High surface tension
B. Low surface tension
C. High pressure
D. Low elasticity
57. In pulmonary edema, the build-up of fluid in the interstitium of the lungs inhibits gas diffusion because:
A. The distance is increased
B. The distance is decreased
C. The alveoli break down
D. The lungs explode
58. What happens to the oxygen-hemoglobin dissociation curve as blood passes through tissues with a very low metabolic rate?
A. Shift to the right –
C. Shift to the left –
59. The dorsal respiratory group (DRG) located in the _____ functions to _____.
A. Pons; Generate the respiratory rhythm
B. Medulla; Terminate the respiratory rhythm
C. Pons; Terminate the respiratory rhythm
D. Medulla; Generate the respiratory rhythm
60. Respiratory alkalosis may be caused by
B. Chronic vomiting
61. In a typical capillary bed (in most tissues), reabsorption occurs at the _____ end and ultrafiltration occurs at the _____ end.
A. Venous; Venous
B. Arterial; Venous
C. Venous; Arterial
D. Arterial; Arterial
62. Which is true about
A. Glomerular capillaries filter out all of the components of plasma
B. Glomerular capillaries filter out many components of plasma that are smaller than proteins
C. Glomerular capillaries filter out all of the components of plasma and reabsorb them on the venous side
D. Glomerular capillaries filter out many components of plasma that are smaller than proteins and reabsorb them on the venous side
63. Which is the correct order of fluid movement through the nephron?
A. Afferent arteriole, Glomerulus, Loop of Henle, PCT, DCT, CD
B. Efferent arteriole, Bowman’s capsule, PCT, Loop of Henle, DCT, CD
C. Bowman’s capsule, Glomerulus, PCT, Loop of Henle, DCT, CD
D. Afferent arteriole, Glomerulus, Bowman’s capsule, PCT, Loop of Henle, DCT, CD
64. Diuretic agents are used to treat hypertension because they:
A. Increase blood volume
B. Increase heart rate
C. Decrease blood volume
D. Decrease heart rate
65. The majority of reabsorption occurs at the:
A. Proximal convoluted tubule
B. Loop of Henle
C. Collecting duct
D. Distal convoluted tubule
66. What type of agent blocks the Na+/Cl- transporter in the nephron?
A. Loop diuretic
B. Aldosterone antagonist
D. ADH antagonist
67. ECGs are used to:
A. Monitor the electrical events in cardiac conduction
B. Measure the force of contraction generated by the ventricles
C. Detect the Mean Arterial Pressure
D. Measure stroke volume and cardiac output
68. Which is a major cause of arrhythmias?
A. Heart attack
D. All of the above
69. The P-wave on an ECG represents
A. Atrial flutter
B. Ventricular repolarization
C. Ventricular depolarization
D. Atrial depolarization
70. Tachycardia can result from activation of which receptor?
A. alpha-1 adrenergic
B. B1 adrenergic
C. alpha-2 adrenergic
D. Muscarinic cholinergic
71. In atrial flutter, the atria contract so quickly that
A. Ventricular filling is compromised
B. The heart stops
C. There is no heart rate
D. Life is not possible
72. Arteries carry blood ____ the heart and _____ the tissues.
A. Towards; Towards
B. Towards; Away from
C. Away from; Towards
D. Away from; Away from
73. Veins carry blood ____ the heart and _____ the tissues.
A. Towards; Away from
B. Towards; Towards
C. Away from; Towards
D. Away from; Away from
74. When blood pressure drops, baroreceptors signal the brainstem to increase sympathetic output resulting in all of the following EXCEPT:
B. Increased contractility of the heart
75. Bronchodilation is mediation by _____ receptors in the lung and _____.
A. Muscarinic cholinergic; Acetylcholine
B. Beta-2 adrenergic; Epinephrine
C. Alpha-1 adrenergic; Norepinephrine
D. Nicotinic cholinergic; Acetylcholine
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As previously mentioned, respiratory therapists are required to become experts on the topic of cardio A&P. That is why this is a critically important topic for students to learn and understand.
Not to mention, there will be several questions on the TMC exam on this very topic.
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- Jardins, Des Terry. Cardiopulmonary Anatomy & Physiology: Essentials of Respiratory Care. 7th ed., Cengage Learning, 2019.
- Faarc, Kacmarek Robert PhD Rrt, et al. Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care. 12th ed., Mosby, 2020.
- Faarc, Gardenhire Douglas EdD Rrt-Nps. Rau’s Respiratory Care Pharmacology. 10th ed., Mosby, 2019.
- Faarc, Heuer Al PhD Mba Rrt Rpft. Wilkins’ Clinical Assessment in Respiratory Care. 8th ed., Mosby, 2017.