Major and Minor Circulation

What is major and minor circulation?

The major circulation is blood’s journey from the heart to the rest of the body. For its part, the minor circulation refers to the blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

The blood circulation receives these names depending on the distance it must travel: the heart-lung circuit is much shorter than the one that goes from the heart to the rest of the body.

What is major circulation?

scheme of the major and minor circulation

Major circulation or systemic circulation is understood as the blood journey that begins when the blood, once it has been oxygenated in the lungs, leaves the left ventricle of the heart to travel through the aorta.

From there they pass into the peripheral arteries or arterioles, which in turn branch into very thin tubes called capillaries.

Capillaries are responsible for releasing oxygen (Otwo) into cells and “pick up” carbon dioxide (COtwo) that has been discarded. The tissues release other waste that is sent to the kidneys, which are responsible for processing it and then expelling it from the body through urine.

The blood, which from this moment already lacks oxygen and contains carbon dioxide, travels through the peripheral veins to reach the main veins: superior and inferior vena cava.

From these main veins, the carboxygenated blood reaches the right atrium of the heart to complete the route of the greater circulation.

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The function of the greater or systemic circulation is to oxygenate the cells, as well as load and transport waste from the body.

See also Aorta.

What is minor circulation?

The minor circulation or pulmonary circulation is the path that blood with carbon dioxide and without oxygen makes from the right ventricle to the lungs.

In this case, the blood leaves the heart and travels through the pulmonary artery. Once in the lungs, it passes through the pulmonary capillaries and reaches the alveoli.

It is in the lungs that hematosis takes place, which consists of the gaseous exchange of carbon dioxide (COtwo) by oxygen (Otwo).

The blood, now oxygenated, travels through the pulmonary veins to reach the left atrium. Then, it will go to the left ventricle of the heart, from where it will go out to the rest of the body through the greater circulation.

The function of the minor or pulmonary circulation is the oxygenation of the blood in the lungs.