cardiac cycle

Science Dictionary
cardiac cycle  
The rhythmic contraction (systole) and relaxation (diastole) of the chambers of the heart that corresponds to one heartbeat. During the cardiac cycle, blood is pumped out of the heart into the aorta and the pulmonary artery, and blood reenters the heart from the venae cavae and the pulmonary veins. The heart's valves open and close in response to pressure differences between the chambers.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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