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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.


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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