Human Anatomy and Physiology : Help with Fetal Circulation

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Human Anatomy and Physiology

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Example Questions

Example Question #85 : Systems Physiology

Which structure is responsible for bypassing the fetal liver and taking blood directly to the right atrium?

Possible Answers:

Umbilical vein

Ductus venosus

Ductus arteriosus

Foramen ovale

Correct answer:

Ductus venosus


Because the fetal lungs and liver are not fully functional until birth, the fetal circulation uses structures in order to bypass these organs.

The ductus venosus is used to reroute blood from the fetal liver and deposit it into the right atrium.

The ductus arteriosus connects the fetal pulmonary arteries to the aorta to bypass the lungs, while the foramen ovale connects the right and left atria to reduce flow to the pulmonary arteries.

The umbilical vein carries blood from the uterus, where it have been loaded with oxygen from maternal circulation, back to the body.

Example Question #86 : Systems Physiology

A fetal circulatory structure is used in order to take blood from the pulmonary trunk and reroute it to the fetal aorta. What does this structure become after birth?

Possible Answers:


Ligamentum venosum

Fossa ovalis

Fovea ovalis

Ligamentum arteriosum

Correct answer:

Ligamentum arteriosum


The ductus arteriosus is used to reroute blood from the pulmonary trunk and place it into the aorta of the fetus, preventing flow to the non-functional fetal lungs. After birth, this structure deteriorates and closes. The ligamentum arteriosum is the vestigial structure that is seen in adults. Instead of connecting the pulmonary arteries and aorta, it helps to stabilize these structures.

The foramen ovale is a fetal window between the right and left atria to help blood bypass the pulmonary circuit. After birth, this window closes to become the fossa ovalis.

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