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Word Count: 2,989
In the Beginning Within a month of conception the cluster of cells that will in the course of time become a human being begins throbbing signaling the development of a primitive heart Scarcely four weeks more pass before an intricate network of veins and arteries the size of a pea forms and subdivides into a tiny replica of the four chambers that will one day make up the adult heart As the fetus grows so does its vitally important circulatory system Although most of the functions of the heart remain dependent upon the mother throughout the entire pregnancy in the latter stages the organ becomes strong enough to beat on its own Even so until birth the baby is cared for and nourished through the mothers placenta An umbilical cord provides a supply line that furnishes food and oxygen for the baby and also removes waste When at last the birthing moment arrives the baby emerges a separate individual almost as soon as its first cries are sounded its pulmonary and circulatory systems undergo a change that renders them self-sufficient How it Works Technically speaking the circulatory system is a masterpiece of organic activity Composed of a network of 60000 miles of blood vessels and a pintsized powerhouse pump known as the heart it services more than 2000 gallons of blood per day feeding and replenishing other organs and making life possible In an adult the heart is normally an 11 - ounce fistsized organ that literally pushes blood through arteries veins and capillaries It does this by means of muscular contractions sparked by electrical impulses from the hearts pacemaker sinoatrial node All of the cells within each of the chambers magically work on cue First the right side sends blood to the lungs There carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen is added turning the blood a bright red color Then the blood is pumped to the left side of the heart and
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