Resistances in parallel or series

a. Parallel resistance is illustrated by the systemic circulation. Each organ is supplied by an artery that branches off the aorta. The total resistance of this parallel arrangement is expressed by the following equation:

R total Ra Rb Rn

Ra, Rb, and Rn are the resistances of the renal, hepatic, and other arteries, respectively. The total resistance is less than the resistance of any of the individual arteries.

b. Series resistance is illustrated by the arrangement of blood vessels within a given organ. Each organ is supplied by a large artery, smaller arteries, arterioles, capillaries, and veins arranged in series. The total resistance is the sum of the individual resistances, as expressed by the following equation:

Rtotal — Rartery Rarterioles Rcapillaries

- The largest proportion of resistance in this series is contributed by the arterioles.

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