pulmonary circulation (anatomy)

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The pulmonary circulation encompasses the circuit by which:

  • unoxygenated blood is passed to the lungs in the pulmonary arteries
  • the blood is oxygenated within the modified capillaries of the respiratory tree at the alveolar-capillary complexes
  • it is returned to the left side of the heart by the pulmonary veins for further distribution

The pulmonary circulation must be contrasted with the bronchial circulation.

Anatomically, the pulmonary circulation has been divided here into:

  • pulmonary arteries
  • alveolar-capillary complex
  • pulmonary veins

Last reviewed 01/2018