Dark-colored blood, called venous blood, is dark because it has become deoxygenated after having traveled through the body before returning to the heart drained of oxygen. Blood leaving the heart, called arterial blood, is pumped from the lungs back to the heart by the pulmonary artery, and it contains a large amount of oxygen for delivery around the body. Arterial blood, therefore, appears a brighter red than deoxygenated venous blood.
Blood gets its color from red blood cells called hemoglobin, to which oxygen binds. Ninety-seven percent of the oxygen transported by the blood from the lungs is carried by hemoglobin. Besides carrying oxygen around the body, hemoglobin helps remove carbon dioxide from the body. The difference in color between venous blood and arterial blood is known as the arteriovenous oxygen difference. Venous blood is also colder than arterial blood due to its lower oxygen content and pH.
A popular and persistent misconception indicates that deoxygenated blood is blue because veins may appear to be blue due to the way light is diffused by the epidermis. Human skin may also take on a bluish color, known as cyanosis, sometimes as a result of certain medical conditions; however, deoxygenated human blood is never blue.Learn More
Blood enters the right side of the heart via the inferior and superior vena cava and the left side of the heart via the pulmonary vein. It empties from the heart via the pulmonic valve on the right and the aortic valve on the left.Full Answer >
The flow of blood through the heart can be traced by injecting a dye into the arteries through a procedure known as an angiogram. Another procedure, cardiac catheterization, involves using a catheter to inject the dye. Magnetic resonance angiography or MRA, uses MRI technology.Full Answer >
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute states that valves located between the atria and ventricles of the heart are responsible for stopping blood backflow. These valves are known as the tricuspid and mitral valves.Full Answer >
Blood enters the heart through two major veins at the right atrium before going to the right ventricle and to the lungs. When blood returns from the lungs, it goes into the left atrium and the left ventricle before leaving the heart to go to the rest of the body through the aorta, according to Cleveland Clinic.Full Answer >