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If you’re wanting to have a successful career as a Respiratory Therapist, first things first, you will definitely need to know all about the anatomy and physiology of the circulatory system. Now you may be thinking, “I’m here to treat patients with diseases of the lungs!” I can appreciate that line of thinking, however, as you will soon learn, it’s all connected.

The circulatory system is responsible for transporting oxygenated blood throughout the body. But we’ll discuss more about that below. To help you learn exactly what you need to know about the circulatory system, we built this study guide that is loaded with practice questions. So if you’re ready (because I’m ready), let’s go ahead and dive in. 

Circulatory System Practice Questions:

1. What does the circulatory system do?
It distributes blood and lymph throughout the body.

2. What forms of circulation does the human body have?
Pulmonary Circulation and Systemic Circulation.

3. What is a Pulmonary Circulation?
Pulmonary circulation is the portion of the cardiovascular system which carries deoxygenated blood away from the heart to the lungs and returns oxygenated (oxygen-rich) blood back to the heart.

4. What is Systemic Circulation?
Systemic circulation is the part of the cardiovascular system which carries oxygenated blood away from the heart to the body and returns deoxygenated blood back to the heart.

5. What are the fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries in coronary heart disease?
The fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries in coronary heart disease are called plaques.

6. What does the right atrium do?
It is at the right upper chamber of the heart that receives deoxygenated blood from the body through the vena cava and pumps it into the right ventricle which then sends it to the lungs to be oxygenated.

7. What does the right ventricle do?
It is at the lower right chamber of the heart that receives deoxygenated blood from the right atrium and pumps it under low pressure into the lungs through the pulmonary artery.

8. What does the left atrium do?
The left atrium is one of the four hollow chambers of the heart. It plays the vital role of receiving blood from the lungs via the pulmonary veins and pumping it to the left ventricle.

9. What does the left ventricle do?
It is at the left lower chamber of the heart that receives blood from the left atrium and pumps it out under high pressure through the aorta to the body.

10. Why is the muscle of the heart on the left side thicker?
This is because blood is pumped out of the heart at a greater pressure from the left ventricle since it pumps the blood at high pressure to the aorta.

11. What is the function of the valves?
There is a valve through which blood passes before leaving each chamber of the heart. The valves prevent the backward flow of blood.

12. What are the functions of atrioventricular valves?
The atrioventricular valves are found between the atria and the ventricles. They make sure blood flows is in one direction.

13. What is the function of tricuspid valve?
The function of the valve is to prevent the backflow of blood into the right atrium.

14. What is the function of bicuspid valve?
The function of the valve is to prevent the backflow of blood into the left atrium.

15. What is the function of the renal artery?
The renal artery supplies the kidney with blood. It carries blood to the kidney and the kidney then filters the blood.

16. What is the function of the renal vein?
It carries the blood filtered by the kidney.

17. What is the function of the hepatic artery?
It is a short blood vessel that carries the blood to the liver, pylorus of the stomach, duodenum and pancreas.

18. What are the hepatic veins?
These are blood vessels that transport the livers deoxygenated blood and blood that was filtered by the liver.

19. What is the superior vena cava?
This is a large vein which carries deoxygenated blood from the head, arms and upper body (pulmonary circulation) into the right atrium of the heart.

20. What is the inferior vena cava?
This is a large vein which carries deoxygenated blood from the body (systemic circulation) into the right atrium of the heart.

21. What is the aorta?
This is the largest artery in the body. Aorta begins at the top of the left ventricle which is the heart’s muscular pumping chamber. The heart pumps blood from the left ventricle into the aorta through aortic valves.

22. What are the coronary arteries?
These arteries feed the cells of the heart.

23. What are the functions of blood vessels?
It delivers oxygen and nutrients to cells and carry away waste products. It also has a part in maintaining the blood pressure.

24. What is the function of arteries?
Arteries carry blood away from the heart.

25. What is an arteriole?
It is a small branch of an artery leading into capillaries.

26. Why are the walls of the arteries rich in elastic fibers?
It is because when fibers recoil they push the blood even further.

27. What are capillaries?
Capillaries are the link between the arteries and veins. They have many different structures doing different jobs.

28. What are veins?
Veins carry blood back to the heart

29. What is a venule?
It is a very small vein which collects blood from the capillaries.

30. Why do veins have valves?
The valves in veins close to prevent the blood from flowing back and the muscles are
squeezing the blood to push it upwards.

31. What systems make up the circulatory system?
It is the cardiovascular system and lymphatic system.

32. What system works to maintain homeostasis in the body?
Circulatory system

33. What is homeostasis?
It is the equilibrium of the internal environment of the body.

34. What do body cells need to function properly?
Food, oxygen, and other substances.

35. What does blood supply to the body and what does it take away?
Blood supplies oxygen, nutrients, vitamins, and antibodies while it takes away waste and carbon dioxide.

36. What is the function of the lymphatic system?
It transports excess fluid away from tissues and maintains the internal fluid environment.

37. What is the function of arteries?
It carries oxygen-rich blood to body tissues.

38. What is the function of veins?
It carries oxygen-poor blood back to heart.

39. What is the function of systemic circulation?
It carries blood from the heart to the tissues and then brings it back.

40. What is pulmonary circulation?
It carries blood to the lungs and back.

41. Where is the left atrium?
It is at the left and top portion of the heart.

42. Where is the right atrium?
It is at the right and top portion of the heart.

43. Where is the right ventricle?
It is at the lower right portion of the heart.

44. Where is the left ventricle?
It is at the lower left portion of heart.

45. What is the pump of the circulatory system?
The heart.

46. What does the blood carry in the circulatory system?
It carries oxygen, carbon dioxide, and all other material.

47. What is the purpose of the pulmonary circulation?
To transport blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs.

48. What transports blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs?
Pulmonary vessels.

49. After blood reaches the lungs it is then returned to which chamber of the heart?
Left atrium.

50. What is the function of systemic circulation?
It pumps blood to the rest of the body.

51. After blood reaches the rest of the body it is then returned to which chamber of the heart?
Right atrium.

52. What is the function of arteries?
It carries blood away from the heart.

53. What is the function of the veins?
It carries blood to the heart.

54. What artery is responsible for carrying deoxygenated blood?
Pulmonary artery.

55. What vein is responsible for carrying oxygenated blood to the heart?
Pulmonary veins.

56. What is the structure of capillaries?
It is the smallest blood vessels in the body.

57. What is the diameter of capillaries?
The diameter is the size of one red blood cell.

58. What is the three-layered walls of all blood vessels aside from capillaries?
Tunics

59. How many layers are present in arteries?
3

60. What is the innermost layer of the blood vessel?
Tunica Interna

61. What tissue composes tunica interna?
It is composed of simple squamous epithelium (endothelium).

62. Where is endothelial lining on the tunica interna connected?
It is at the basement membrane with glycoproteins and collagen fibers.

63. What is the purpose of the basement membrane with glycoproteins and collagen fibers?
It glues the epithelium to the underlying tissue.

64. What structure is also found in the tunica interna?
Internal elastic lamina.

65. What is the function of the elastic lamina?
It allows expansion for blood flow.

66. What is the tunica media?
Middle layer.

67. What tissue does the tunica media contain?
It has elastin and smooth muscle.

68. What type of tissues can be seen in the largest blood vessels?
Mostly elastin and very little smooth muscle.

69. What is the outermost layer of a blood vessel?
Tunica externa.

70. What type of tissue is found in the tunica externa?
Loose fibrous connective tissue.

71. The tunica externa is principally composed of what?
Collagen and elastin.

72. What has their own circulatory system in the external portion of the blood vessel?
Larger blood vessels.

73. What blood vessels has their own blood supply?
Vasa vasorum.

74. What has the same three distinct layers as arteries?
Veins

75. Where do veins and arteries differ structurally?
They differ in the wall thickness.

76. What type of walls do veins have?
They have way thinner walls than arteries.

77. What causes the arteries to have thicker walls?
Blood pressure.

78. What type of pressure is found in veins?
Relatively zero pressure.

79. What composes the medium and large veins?
One-way valves and pocket valves.

80. What is the function of one-way valves or pocket valves?
It assists in the movement of blood back to the heart.

81. What forms valves?
Folded tunica interna.

82. These one-way pocket valves are formed with?
Two-flap pocket valves

83. What assists one-way valves and pocket valves in bringing blood back to the heart?
Respiration and contraction of smooth muscle

84. What are capillaries?
It is the smallest blood vessels in the body.

85. What is the function of capillaries?
It is the site of exchange between tissues.

86. What does blood give up in capillaries which is the site of exchange in the body?
Nutrients and oxygen.

87. What does blood receive in the capillaries which is the site of exchange in the body?
Carbon dioxide and waste products.

88. Which blood vessel does not have three layers?
Capillaries.

89. What tissues form capillaries?
Tunica interna without the internal elastic lamina.

90. What other tissues are sometimes but not always found in capillaries?
Simple squamous epithelia with a basement membrane possible with a small number of connective tissues.

91. Where can we see capillaries?
In most tissues of the body.

92. What are the largest arteries in the body?
Conducting or elastic arteries.

93. What is the purpose of calling large arteries in the body elastic arteries?
Tunica media is almost entirely elastin with very small amounts of smooth muscle.

94. What do you call the medium and small arteries?
Distributing and muscular arteries.

95. What is the purpose of calling medium and small arteries distributing and muscular arteries?
The media is now going to be mostly smooth muscle with very little elastin.

96. Small and medium arteries are principally designed to?
Dilate or constrict.

97. What is the purpose of dilating or constricting arteries?
To increase or decrease blood supply to a tissue.

98. What do tunica media in small and medium arteries principally consist of?
It consists of smooth muscle.

99. What is rarely found in small and medium arteries?
Vasa vasorum.

100. What are the smallest arteries in the body?
Resistance arteries/ arterioles.

101. What can be found in the resistance arteries which is associated with the tunica media?
Two to three layers of smooth muscle.

102. What should be identified for a small artery to be a resistance arteriole?
Three layers; intima, media, and adventia.

103. What is the function of the precapillary sphincters?
It dictates the flow of blood into the capillary bed.

104. What regulates the precapillary sphincters?
Metabolic needs.

105. What should a precapillary sphincter do to dictate metabolic needs?
Dilate or constrict.

106. What signs would show the dilation of a precapillary sphincter?
Low O2, high CO2, and low pH.

107. What would dictate if a precapillary sphincter would constrict?
Plenty of O2, low CO2, High PH, and plenty of glucose.

108. What are baroreceptors?
Stretch receptors.

109. Where are baroreceptors located?
The aortic arch and carotid sinus.

110. What are aortic and carotid bodies?
They are chemoreceptors.

111. What is the function of the aortic and carotid bodies?
The are sensitive to change to CO2 and pH.

112. What are the three basic types of capillaries?
Continuous, Fenestrated, and Sinusoids

113. What is the most common type of capillary?
Continuous.

114. Where are continuous capillaries found?
Muscle, lungs, and the brain.

115. What holds together the endothelial cells in continuous capillaries?
Tight junctions.

116. What is also found in continuous capillaries?
Intercellular clefts.

117. What is the function of the intercellular cleft?
Small openings between adjacent cells.

118. What can pass through the intercellular cleft openings?
Small molecules to pass; water, ions, glucose, hormones etc.

119. What type of tissue is associated with continuous capillaries?
Basal lamina.

120. What principally consists of the basal lamina?
Basement membrane composed of glycoproteins and a few collagen fibers.

121. What contains some of the continuous capillaries?
Pericyte.

122. What is the function of the pericyte?
It helps with the growth of capillaries and help with capillary repair.

123. What is the structure of fenestrated capillaries?
It has prominent holes called fenestrae right through the endothelial cells, does also have a basement membrane like continuous capillaries

124. What is the function of fenestrated capillaries?
It allows a variety of different molecules to pass.

125. Where do we find fenestrated capillaries?
Primarily in kidneys and intestines.

126. What is the function of fenestrated capillaries in the kidneys?
It pushes blood through the capillaries at relatively high blood pressure and a wide variety of molecules will pass through these waste products, glucose, ions.

127. What are sinusoid capillaries?
It is found in the liver and do not have a basement membrane.

128. What is the general name for veins?
Capacitance vessels.

129. Why are capacitance vessels called capacitance?
They have the capability of expanding somewhat to receive whatever volume of blood the capillaries are delivering to them.

130. What are the smallest veins?
Post-Capillary Venule.

131. What is the diameter of Post-Capillary venules?
1mm

132. Which venule is the smallest of the middle-sized veins and has 1-3 layers of smooth muscle?
Muscular venules.

133. What is the diameter of muscular venules?
1mm

134. What type of vein is the first to have one-way valves?
Muscular veins.

135. What is the diameter of muscular veins?
2-10 mm

136. What is the diameter of the vein to develop one-way pocket valves?
2mm.

137. What is the diameter of large veins?
Larger than 10 mm.

138. What are some examples of large veins?
Superior and Inferior Vena Cava.

139. What type of structure is present in large veins?
Three layers, large diameter, one-way pocket valves.

140. What is the function of the venous sinus?
It is a large vein and there is no smooth muscle associated with it.

141. What is the function of a portal system?
It works from the capillary bed to a vein, then to another capillary bed without returning to the heart.

142. What is the function of the hepatic portal system?
Capillary bed found in the digestive system.

143. Where does the hepatic portal system drain?
Hepatic portal vein.

144. Where does the hepatic portal vein drain into?
Sinusoids.

145. What do you call the hardening of the arteries?
Arterial sclerosis.

146. Arterial sclerosis become more prominent during age due to the fact?
As we age, the walls of our arteries become weaker.

Final Thoughts

And that wraps up our study guide on the anatomy and physiology of the circulatory system. I hope that after going through these practice questions, you have now developed a good understanding of this system (because it is very important for Respiratory Therapy students to know). Thank you for much for reading and as always, breathe easy my friend.