Heart Surgery Patient Guide
Circulation of Blood
All of the body's organs require blood in order to function properly. Blood is composed of a liquid portion known as plasma and several cell components. The cell components are known as red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The red blood cells are the cells that carry oxygen to the body's organs. The blood vessels that carry the oxygen-rich blood to the organs are known as arteries. During the process of metabolism the organs develop carbon dioxide.
As the oxygen-rich blood passes through the organ, the oxygen in the red blood cells is exchanged for the carbon dioxide. Blood rich is oxygen is a bright red, whereas blood that has had the oxygen extracted is a dark red to purple color. The blood that has had its oxygen extracted is known as de-saturated blood. The blood vessels that carry the de-saturated blood away from the organ are known as veins.