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Circulatory system
All cells in the body need to have oxygen and nutrients, and they need their wastes removed. These are the main roles of the circulatory system. The heart, blood and blood vessels work together to service the cells of the body. Using the network of arteries, veins and capillaries, blood carries carbon dioxide to the lungs (for exhalation) and picks up oxygen. From the small intestine, the blood gathers food nutrients and delivers them to every cell.

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Blood consists of: • • • • Red blood cells – to carry oxygen White blood cells – that make up part of the immune system Platelets – needed for clotting Plasma – blood cells, nutrients and wastes float in this liquid.

The heart
The heart pumps blood around the body. It sits inside the chest, in front of the lungs and slightly to the left side. The heart is actually a double pump made up of four chambers, with the flow of blood going in one direction due to the presence of the heart valves. The contractions of the chambers make the sound of heartbeats.

The right side of the heart
The right upper chamber (atrium) takes in deoxygenated blood that is loaded with carbon dioxide. The blood is squeezed down into the right lower chamber (ventricle) and taken by an artery to the lungs where the carbon dioxide is replaced with oxygen.

The left side of the heart
The oxygenated blood travels back to the heart, this time entering the left upper chamber (atrium). It is pumped into the left lower chamber (ventricle) and then into the aorta (an artery). The blood starts its journey around the body once more.

Blood vessels
Blood vessels have a range of different sizes and structures, depending on their role in the body.

Oxygenated blood is pumped from the heart along

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