The Human Body

Circulatory System: Operation and Function


Only in the past 400 years have scientists recognized that blood moves in a cycle through the heart and body. Before the 17th century, scientists believed that the liver creates new blood, and then the blood passes through the heart to gain warmth and finally is soaked up and consumed in the tissues. In 1628 English physician William Harvey first proposed that blood circulates continuously. Using modern methods of observation and experimentation, Harvey noted that veins have one-way valves that lead blood back to the heart from all parts of the body. He noted that the heart works as a pump, and he estimated correctly that the daily output of fresh blood is more than seven tons. He pointed out the absurdity of the old doctrine, which would require the liver to produce this much fresh blood daily. Harvey’s theory was soon proven correct and became the cornerstone of modern medical science.

Sub-Topics:
Systemic Circulation
Pulmonary Circulation
Additional Functions
Blood Pressure