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This text is intended to give beginning medical and serious physiology students a strong understanding of the basic operating principles of the intact cardiovascular system. In the course of their careers, these students will undoubtedly encounter a blizzard of new research findings, drug company claims, etc. Our basic rationale is that to be able to evaluate such new information, one must understand where it fits in the overall picture.

In many curricula, the study of cardiovascular physiology is a student's first exposure to a complete organ system. Many students who have become masters at memorizing isolated facts understandably have some difficulty in adjusting their mindset to think and reason about a system as a whole. We have attempted to foster this transition with our text and challenging study questions. In short, our goal is to have students "understand" rather than "know" cardiovascular physiology.

We are also conscious of the fact that cardiovascular physiology is allotted less and less time in most curricula. We have attempted to keep our monograph as short and succinct as possible. Our goal from the first edition onward has been to help students understand how the "bottom-line" principles of cardiovascular operations apply to the various physiological and pathological challenges that occur during everyday life. Thus, our monograph is aimed throughout with its last two chapters in mind. These chapters bring together the individual components to show how the overall system operates under normal and abnormal situations. We judged what facts to include in the beginning chapters on the basis of whether they needed to be referred to in these last two chapters.

In this seventh edition, we have attempted to hone our fundamental approach through more precise language, better organization of some of the material, incorporation of a few new factual updates that clarify our understanding of basic concepts, and inclusion of additional thought-provoking study questions.

As always, we wish to express sincere thanks to our mentors while we were students and to our own students for all the things they have taught us over the years.

David E. Mohrman, PhD
Lois Jane Heller, PhD

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