What Is Arterial Circulation?

The circulatory system.
A diagram of the aorta.
Arterial circulation is the circulation of blood from the heart to the lungs for oxygenation and back to the heart.
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  • Written By: Helena Reimer
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 20 August 2014
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Arterial circulation is an important part of the circulatory system, because it is part of the process that helps deliver nutrients to all the cells in the body. It involves the heart, aorta, arteries and arterioles as well as the pulmonary arteries. In arterial circulation, the blood is pumped away from the heart into the aorta, which then pumps the blood into the arteries. The arteries branch off into smaller blood vessels known as the arterioles, which then pass the blood into the capillaries, where the nutrients are exchanged for toxins and other cellular waste.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It is situated between the left ventricle of the heart and the smaller arteries, which branch out into arterioles. Arteries and arterioles are strong blood vessels that help transport the blood away from the heart. They are flexible vessels that can expand or contract to the size needed for the correct amount of blood to flow through. As a result, the arteries are helpful in the regulation of blood pressure.


Pulmonary arteries are responsible for delivering blood from the heart to the lungs and back to the heart again. This is known as pulmonary circulation, and it involves arterial circulation, capillary circulation and venous circulation. During the pulmonary circulation process, deoxygenated blood is carried away from the heart to the lungs, where the carbon dioxide is dropped off in exchange for oxygen. The newly oxygenated blood is then transported back to heart to be distributed throughout the body.

Capillary circulation involves the capillaries, which are located throughout the body, including the lungs, kidneys, intestines and soft tissues. They are the smallest blood vessels, with thin walls that allow nutrients and waste material to move in and out of the bloodstream. In the intestinal tract, they help eliminate waste material from the blood and absorb nutrients. The nutrients are then distributed to the tissues, where other waste material is picked up. In the lungs, the capillaries are responsible for exchanging carbon dioxide with oxygen, and in the kidneys, their function is to drop off collected waste material.

The capillaries are also the blood vessels that connect arterial circulation and venous circulation. Venous circulation involves the veins, which are thinner vessels than the arteries. They are responsible for transporting deoxygenated blood back to the right ventricle of the heart. The deoxygenated blood is then carried to the lungs via the pulmonary arteries to be oxygenated again.


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