Difference Between Pulmonary and Systemic Circulation (With Table)

Every living being’s body consists of several organs, systems, senses, skills etc. In order to carry out all the processes in the body harmoniously, it is important for all the processes to work out smoothly and efficiently. Every process plays an important role in keeping the living being healthy and fit.

There are various processes that take place in a living being’s body that include respiration, digestion, circulation, excretion, movement, nutrition, growth, reproduction, sensitivity etc. There are subtypes of these processes that are also carried out. For instance, the subtypes of respiration include aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration. Subtypes of reproduction include sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction, and so on. However, two types of circulation include 1. Pulmonary circulation and 2. Systemic circulation.

Pulmonary vs Systemic Circulation

The difference between pulmonary circulation and systemic circulation is the place to which the blood is circulated in these respective circulations. In the pulmonary circulation, the blood is circulated between the heart and the lungs, and further, transportation of deoxygenated blood to the lungs for absorption of oxygen and release of carbon dioxide is also done. On the other hand, in systemic circulation, the blood is circulated between the heart and the rest of the body.

The process of blood circulation from the heart to the lungs in order to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide by transporting deoxygenated blood to the lungs is known as pulmonary circulation. In this process of blood circulation, a closed circuit is formed between the heart and the lungs because of the formation of the system of the blood vessels.

The process of blood circulation from the heart to all the parts of the body is known as systemic circulation. Blood is supplied to all the tissues of the body during this circulation. It also supplies oxygen and other necessary nutrients to the body cells and drains out the carbon dioxide along with other waste products.

Comparison Table Between Pulmonary and Systemic Circulation

Parameters of ComparisonPulmonary CirculationSystemic Circulation
Definition/ MeaningThe process of blood circulation from the heart to the lungs in order to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide by transporting deoxygenated blood to the lungs is known as pulmonary circulation.The process of blood circulation from the heart to all the parts of the body is known as systemic circulation.
During hypoxiaBlood vessels are narrowed because of the muscles that are present in the walls.Blood vessels are dilated, and thus blood pressure is decreased.
During hypercapniaBlood vessels are narrowed because of the muscles that are present in the walls.Blood vessels are dilated, and thus blood pressure is decreased.
Blood flow The occurrence of active regulation and blood flow is affected by gravity and alveolar recruitment.Less effect of gravity on blood flow is seen
Blood flow betweenHeart to lungsHeart to all the parts of the body

What is Pulmonary Circulation?

The process of blood circulation from the heart to the lungs in order to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide by transporting deoxygenated blood to the lungs is known as pulmonary circulation. It is found on the evolutionary cycle that pulmonary circulation first occurred in lungfishes. The lungfishes were also the first animals to acquire a heart that had three chambers.

In this process of blood circulation, a closed circuit is formed between the heart and the lungs because of the formation of the system of the blood vessels. However, the pulmonary circulation is different in mammals, crocodiles, and birds. The process takes place in a different manner in these living beings.

Whenever the division of the ventricle takes place into two parts, a four-chambered heart is formed, and it results in the initiation of the pulmonary circuit from the right ventricle. The right ventricle plays the role of pumping the deoxygenated blood from the pulmonary artery, which is further divided into two branches. These two branches divide to the left and right lungs and get divided into even smaller arteries further.

The small branches of arteries are subdivided until the capillaries are reached in the pulmonary air sacs. The oxygen present in the air that is breathed into the air sacs is absorbed by the capillaries that are present in the blood. The blood flow continues to the larger vessels until it reaches the pulmonary veins that open into the left atrium of the heart. 

What is Systemic Circulation?

The process of blood circulation from the heart to all the parts of the body is known as systemic circulation. Blood is supplied to all the tissues of the body during this circulation. It also supplies oxygen and other necessary nutrients to the body cells and drains out the carbon dioxide along with other waste products.

In systemic circulation, the oxygenated blood is carried from the left ventricle, and the arteries act as a medium. After that, it is carried to the capillaries in the tissues that are present in the body. Before returning to the right atrium of the heart, the deoxygenated blood from the tissue capillaries flows through a system of veins.

Several major systemic arteries and major systemic veins participate in the systemic circulation. These systemic veins help the blood to return to the heart after it supplies oxygen and other nutrients to the tissues and clears out the carbon dioxide. The gaseous exchange occurs in the capillaries.

Several nutrients and oxygen that is extremely important for the body are supplied to the body during circulation. One must understand the importance of this process as it helps a living being in staying healthy and fit throughout. In order to understand the importance of fitness and a healthy lifestyle, one must be careful about the diet and other factors that help in boosting this process.

Main Differences Between Pulmonary and Systemic Circulation

  1. The process of blood circulation from the heart to the lungs in order to absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide by transporting deoxygenated blood to the lungs is known as the pulmonary circulation, on the other hand, the process of blood circulation from the heart to all the parts of the body is known as the systemic circulation.
  2. The blood is circulated between the heart and the lungs during pulmonary circulation. On the other hand, the blood is circulated from the heart to the rest of the body during systemic circulation.
  3. Pulmonary circulation consists of the pulmonary artery and the pulmonary vein. On the other hand, the systemic circulation consists of the inferior vena cava, superior vena cava, blood vessels etc.
  4. In pulmonary circulation, oxygenated blood is carried by pulmonary veins to the left atrium of the heart from the lungs. On the other hand, in the systemic circulation, deoxygenated blood is carried out by the superior vena cava and the inferior vena cava to the right atrium of the heart from the body.
  5. In the pulmonary circulation, carbon dioxide is released, and oxygen is absorbed in the blood. On the other hand, in the systemic circulation, the metabolizing cells that are present in the body are provided with the necessary nutrients and oxygen.

Conclusion

Both types of circulation are extremely important, and in order for these processes to take place smoothly, one must understand their importance. They provide the necessary nutrients and oxygen and also picks out carbon dioxide.

In order to stay fit and live a healthy lifestyle, one must follow a healthy and productive routine. One must have a balanced diet and must avoid harmful things. A productive routine and habits that are helpful for an individual’s growth must be instilled.

References

  1. https://physoc.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1113/jphysiol.1894.sp00049
  2. https://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.ph.32.030170.001525
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