Book : Human Biology
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Posted by: CHELSEA
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Writer CHELSEA

Cardiac Cycle

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Overview

Cardiac cycle is the term used to describe the relaxation and contraction that occur, as a heart works to pump blood through the body. Heart rate is a term used to describe the frequency of the cardiac cycle. It is considered one of the four vital signs. Usually it is calculated as the number of contractions (heart beats) of the heart in one minute and expressed as "beats per minute" (bpm). When resting, the adult human heart beats at about 70 bpm (males) and 75 bpm (females), but this rate varies between people. However, the reference range is nominally between 60 bpm (if less termed bradycardia) and 100 bpm (if greater, termed tachycardia). Resting heart rates can be significantly lower in athletes, and significantly higher in the obese. The body can increase the heart rate in response to a wide variety of conditions in order to increase the cardiac output (the amount of blood ejected by the heart per unit time). Exercise, environmental stressors or psychological stress can cause the heart rate to increase above the resting rate. The pulse is the most straightforward way of measuring the heart rate, but it can be deceptive when some strokes do not lead to much cardiac output. In these cases (as happens in some arrhythmias), the heart rate may be considerably higher than the pulse. Every single 'beat' of the heart involves three major stages: atrial systole, ventricular systole and complete cardiac diastole. Throughout the cardiac cycle, the blood pressure increases and decreases. As ventricles contract the pressure rise, causing the AV valves to slam shut.



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