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Systemic circulation is the portion of the cardiovascular system which carries oxygenated blood away from the heart, to the body, and returns oxygen-depleted blood back to the heart. The term is contrasted with pulmonary circulation.
Oxygenated blood from the lungs leaves the left heart through the aorta, from where it is distributed to the body's organs and tissues, which absorb the oxygen, through a complex network of arteries, arterioles, and capillaries. The oxygen-depleted blood is then collected by venules, from where it flows first into veins, and then into the inferior and superior venae cavae, which return it to the right heart, completing the systemic cycle. The blood is then re-oxygenated through the pulmonary circulation before returning again to the systemic circulation.
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