Compare and contrast the systemic circulation with the pulmonary circulation.

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College Answer

This question encompasses a wide area of cardiovascular physiology. As a compare and contrast question this question was well answered by candidates who used a table with relevant headings. Comprehensive answers included: anatomy, blood volume, blood flow, blood pressure, circulatory resistance, circulatory regulation, regional distribution of blood flow, response to hypoxia, gas exchange function, metabolic and synthetic functions, role in acid base homeostasis and filter and reservoir functions. A frequent cause for missing marks was writing about each circulation separately but comparing. For example: many candidates stated 'hypoxic pulmonary vasoconstriction', but did not contrast this to 'hypoxic vasodilation' for the systemic circulation. Frequently functions of the circulations were limited to gas transport / exchange.