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Physiology - cardiac output and how can it be changed

kynur kynur (New) New

Can anyone help me understand cardiac output? I know it is stroke volume x heart rate but I dont fully understand it. Thanks!


NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

The components of cardiac output involve preload, afterload and contractility. Preload is what comes into the heart, afterload is the resistance against what goes out of the heart and contractility is the force of the contraction of the heart in its attempt to move the blood on through. Think of some things that will change each of these factors to help you understand how cardiac output is optimized.