Structure and perfusion of the capillary bed

  • Jos A. E. Spaan
Part of the Developments in Cardiovascular Medicine book series (DICM, volume 124)


The capillary bed is not simply the continuation of the arterial tree. It does not have a branching structure; however, it forms an interconnected network of vessels of more or less equal diameters [28]. A good impression of the capillary network in the dog’s heart is supplied by Figures 3.1 and 3.2. The picture of Figure 3.1 is from Bassingthwaighte et al. [2] and provides an overview over an area larger than 1 mm2. Long, parallel capillaries (so–called main capillaries) are visible with a considerable number of interconnections, forming the capillary network. The myocytes are organized within the open spaces in this network. The main capillaries can run over several millimeters. Terminal arterioles are connected to the network. Because of this structure it is not a priori clear from which terminal arteriole the blood that runs through a specific capillary segment originates. The insert offers a closer look at how the small vessels spring from larger branches, an observation also emphasized in Figure 2.2.


Capillary Density Capillary Network Capillary Flow Capillary Length Capillary Diameter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jos A. E. Spaan
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiovascular Research Institute Amsterdam (CRIA)AmsterdamThe Netherlands

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