The Control of Cardiac Output Through Coupling of Heart and Blood Vessels
At constant blood volume, the flow of blood from the blood vessels to the heart, the so-called venous return, is a function of the atrial pressures. The atrial pressures act as back pressures to flow from the blood vessels to the heart: The greater the atrial pressures, the less the flow. At the same time, the atrial pressures act in an opposite way on ejection of blood from the heart: The greater the atrial pressures, the greater the ventricular filling and stroke volume. The opposite effect of the atrial pressures on venous return and ventricular ejection is the focal point of the mechanical coupling of the heart and circuit as determinants of the steady-state cardiac output.
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