Cardiovascular and Respiration Lab


The cardiovascular system consists of the heart, blood vessels, blood, lymph and bone marrow. The major functions of this system are transportation and protection. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to tissues and cells, and transports carbon dioxide and waste products away from tissues. Blood also protects the body from disease, as white blood cells engulf bacteria and lymphocytes produce antibodies that neutralize toxins produced by foreign organisms. Proteins in the blood, called complement, can also destroy invading pathogens.

The heart pumps the blood through the body, enabling its function of transport and protection. Blood travels from the heart into arteries then into arterioles, smaller arteries. From arterioles, blood travels into capillaries where nutrients and waste products leave or move into the blood. Blood then leaves the capillaries and returns back to the heart first through smaller venules and then larger veins. Arteries have thick walls that expand when blood enters them from the heart, and the pressure of the blood moves it through the arteries and arterioles. Blood pressure is much lower in veins, so skeletal muscle contractions through everyday movement and one-way valves help blood return to the heart. Capillaries are thin walled vessels that allow exchange of materials with the tissue fluids.

The purpose of this lab is to examine the cardiovascular system, and it’s relationship to the respiratory system. Specifically you will:

  1. trace the flow of blood through the lungs (pulmonary circuit) and body (systemic circuit)
  2. identify locations where you measure pulse rate
  3. measure pulse and respiratory rate at rest and after exercise


For your lab report, please answer all of the questions below, including data sets that are produced.

Part 1. Blood flow through the pulmonary and systemic circuits
Pulmonary circuit
Trace the path of blood in the pulmonary circulation from the heart to the lungs and back to the heart. Fill in the blanks. (1.5 pts)

Right ventricle of the heart  _____  lungs 
______________ of heart

Systemic circuit: to kidneys
Trace the path of blood in the systemic circulation from the heart to the kidneys and back to the heart. Fill in the blanks. (2.5 pts)

Left ventricle  __  kidney  ____
_____ of the heart

Major Blood Vessels
Complete the following table of the major blood vessels. In the spaces provided, identify the major artery and vein for each body part listed (5pts)

Body Part Major Artery Major Vein

Do arteries always carry oxygenated blood? Explain. (2.5 pts)

Part II. Pulse and Respiration

a. Pulse locations. This can be done by yourself, but it could be easier to identify pulse locations on a partner.
1. Read this website:
2. Try to find your carotid pulse, radial (wrist) pulse, pedal pulse (foot), temporal pulse (temple), brachial pulse (inside of upper arm), popliteal pulse (back of bent knee) and femoral pulse (groin).
3. Measure the heart rate at each of the pulse points for 15 seconds, multiply by 4 and record the heart rate. (3.5 pts)

Which pulses were you able to find? Should the heart rate be the same or different at each of the pulse points? (2 pts)

Why don’t you use your thumb to measure a pulse? (1 pts)

b. Heart rate and respiration at rest and after exercise.
1. Using either the carotid or radial pulse (whichever is easiest for you), determine your heart rate at rest, using the method above.
2. Determine your respiratory rate at rest. Count respirations for 30 seconds, and multiply by 2. Try hard not to change your respiration rate while counting or if possible (and preferable) have someone else count your respiration rate.
3. Engage in 3 to 5 minutes of exercise. Running around the house, doing jumping jacks or burpees, or running in place quickly will work 
4. Take your heart rate and respiratory rate, as described above.

How did your heart rate change after exercise? Why? Report the numbers that you got while performing the above activities. (3.5 pts)

How did your respiratory rate change after exercise? Why? Report the numbers that you got while performing the above activities. (3.5 pts)