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Cardiac Output

Author(s): Lou Gross1, Monica Beals1, Susan Harrell1

University of Tennessee Knoxville

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This module introduces Fick's principle in the context of understanding the cardiac output. It is intended for an introductory biology audience.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 15 Feb 2019 doi:10.25334/Q4GQ8Z - cite this


This activity maps to the OpenStax biology textbook, 40.3 Mammalian Heart and Blood Vessels

Student Introduction: Vertebrate circulatory systems consist of blood, which transports materials to and from cells via blood vessels, and a heart to pump the blood. One important role of the circulatory system is to provide oxygen to cells. As a general rule, small animals have a higher rate of oxygen consumption per unit body mass than large animals. Therefore, the heart of a small animal must supply oxygen at a higher rate than the heart of a large animal. Since the oxygen capacity of blood is similar between small and large animals, small animals must have hearts that pump blood at a higher rate, or in other words, have a higher cardiac output.

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