Weichert, Charles K. College of Arts and Sciences, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Jones, David R. Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Last reviewed:November 2016
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- Arterial system
- Venous system
- Circulatory physiology
- Links to Primary Literature
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The set of structures, such as the heart (or pumping mechanism) and the arteries, veins, and capillaries, which provide channels for the flow of blood. The cardiovascular system (Fig. 1) is sometimes called the blood-vascular system. The circulatory system includes both the cardiovascular and lymphatic systems; the latter consists of lymph channels (lymphatics), nodes, and fluid lymph, which finally empties into the bloodstream. With regard to vertebrates, all animals in this grouping feature a closed system of branched vessels, a ventral heart, and a basic pattern of organization that ranges from the single system in most fishes to the double system in terrestrial forms. Embryologically, the cardiovascular system in vertebrates arises from the splanchnic mesoderm, with the first blood and vessels formed in the wall of the yolk sac. See also: Blood; Circulation; Developmental biology; Embryology; Lymphatic system; Vertebrata; Yolk sac
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