Show Summary Details
Page of

Hydrostatic Pressure 

Hydrostatic Pressure
Hydrostatic Pressure

James R. Munis

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 05 May 2021

If you're going to understand how to think about pressures within the circulatory system, though, you'll need to know a few of the not-so-obvious principles of hydrostatics. Hydrostatic pressure is affected only by the density of the fluid, its vertical height above or below a measurement point, and the acceleration due to gravity. If the larger mass of water in the ocean exerts greater pressure than the smaller mass of water in your vertical pipe, then you should see water perpetually flowing through the pipe and rising higher than sea level. Continual flow doesn't happen in this example for the same reason as described above—hydrostatic pressure is not determined by the shape of the fluid container or the total mass of fluid that it contains. Here, only the vertical distance above the measurement point is important. Now let's apply these principles to the siphon, defined as any fluid-filled conduit that excludes air. The reason for broaching this issue is that the cardiovascular system also obeys the principle of the siphon.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.