Systole

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Systole is the contraction of heart chambers, driving blood out of the chambers. The chamber most often discussed is the left ventricle. However, all four chambers of the heart undergo systole and diastole in a timed fashion so that blood is propelled forward through the cardiovascular system.

The systolic pressure is specifically the maximum arterial pressure during contraction of the left ventricle of the heart. In a blood pressure reading, the systolic pressure is typically the first number recorded. For example, with a blood pressure of 120/80 ("120 over 80"), the systolic pressure is 120. By "120" is meant 120 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).