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The force or resistance that the ventricles must overcome to eject the blood around the body


The upper chambers of the heart

Cardiac contractility

The strength of the contraction of the ventricles

Cardiac output (CO)

The volume of blood pumped by the heart each minute. It is a product of heart rate and stroke volume

Heart failure

The condition that exists when the heart is unable to maintain a cardiac output sufficient to meets the body’s metabolic needs

Heart rate

The number of times that the heart beats each minute


The effect of stretching in the ventricles prior to contraction. It is related to volume of blood entering the ventricles

Stroke volume

The volume of blood ejected by the heart at a single contraction


The lower chambers of the heart


British Heart Foundation

The BHF is a UK charity dedicated to raising public awareness of heart disease and what they can do to avoid it, and to carrying out research on cardiac conditions. There's a section aimed at healthcare professionals which has a wealth of resources and publications.

NHS Direct Online

Comprehensive NHS-run patient-oriented compendium of conditions and treatments. There's a section on Heart Failure which goes into symptoms, causes, treatment and prevention, and has a list of references for further reading.

Principles of Anatomy and Physiology by Tortora, G. R., Derrickson B. H.

This book provides a comprehensive content on physiology and anatomy of human body.

Learning outcomes

By completing this resource you will be able to:

Discuss factors affecting cardiac output in response to different physiological changes.

This resource was developed by:

Content author: Hui Yin Yow, Jhi Biau Foo, Wei Hsum Yap

Developers: Haniffa Beevi Abdul Jaleel, Mohd Radzy Omar, Enna Ayub

Programmer: Aizul Hadi Rusman

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