Lymphatic system

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Related to lymphatic systems: Respiratory systems, Digestive systems


1. pertaining to lymph or to a lymphatic vessel.
2. a lymphatic vessel.
lymphatic ducts the two large vessels into which all lymphatic vessels converge. The right lymphatic duct joins the venous system at the junction of the right internal jugular and subclavian veins and carries lymph from the upper right side of the body. The left lymphatic duct, or thoracic duct, enters the circulatory system at the junction of the left internal jugular and subclavian veins; it returns lymph from the upper left side of the body and from below the diaphragm.
lymphatic system the lymphatic vessels and lymphoid tissues considered collectively. (See also circulatory system.) Several diseases affect the lymphatic system. lymphogranuloma venereum is a viral disease that attacks lymph nodes in the groin and usually is transmitted by sexual contact. lymphadenitis is an inflammation of the lymph nodes, particularly in the neck; swollen tonsils is an example. Generalized lymphadenitis can be a symptom of the secondary stage of syphilis. Cancer attacks the lymphatic system, as it does other systems of the body; a tumor of the lymphoid tissue is known as a lymphoma. The general term lymphosarcoma refers to malignant neoplastic disorders of lymphoid tissue.
Diagrammatic representation of lymphatic drainage of various parts of the body. From Dorland's, 2000.


1. a set or series of interconnected or interdependent parts or entities (objects, organs, or organisms) that act together in a common purpose or produce results impossible by action of one alone.
2. an organized set of principles or ideas. adj., adj systemat´ic, system´ic.

The parts of a system can be referred to as its elements or components; the environment of the system is defined as all of the factors that affect the system and are affected by it. A living system is capable of taking in matter, energy, and information from its environment (input), processing them in some way, and returning matter, energy, and information to its environment as output.

An open system is one in which there is an exchange of matter, energy, and information with the environment; in a closed system there is no such exchange. A living system cannot survive without this exchange, but in order to survive it must maintain pattern and organization in the midst of constant change. Control of self-regulation of an open system is achieved by dynamic interactions among its elements or components. The result of self-regulation is referred to as the steady state; that is, a state of equilibrium. homeostasis is an assemblage of organic regulations that act to maintain steady states of a living organism.

A system can be divided hierarchically into subsystems, which can be further subdivided into sub-subsystems and components. A system and its environment could be considered as a unified whole for purposes of study, or a subsystem could be studied as a system. For example, the collection of glands in the endocrine system can be thought of as a system, each endocrine gland could be viewed as a system, or even specific cells of a single gland could be studied as a system. It is also possible to think of the human body as a living system and the endocrine system as a subsystem. The division of a system into a subsystem and its environment is dependent on the perspective chosen by the person studying a particular phenomenon.
Systems, subsystems, and suprasystems. Within the environment there are suprasystems, such as human society, and systems within the suprasystem, such as the educational and industrial systems and the health care delivery system. Within the health care delivery system are subsystems, such as the patient, family members, the nurse, the physician, and allied health care professionals and paraprofessionals.
alimentary system digestive system.
apothecaries' system see apothecaries' system.
autonomic nervous system see autonomic nervous system.
avoirdupois system see avoirdupois system.
behavioral system in the behavioral system model of nursing, the patterned, repetitive, and purposeful behaviors of an individual.
cardiovascular system the heart and blood vessels, by which blood is pumped and circulated through the body; see also circulatory system.
CD system (cluster designation) a system for classifying cell-surface markers expressed by lymphocytes based on a computer analysis of monoclonal antibodies against hla antigens, with antibodies having similar specificity characteristics being grouped together and assigned a number (CD1, CD2, CD3, etc.); these CD numbers are also applied to the specific antigens recognized by the various groups of monoclonal antibodies. See also CD antigen.
centimeter-gram-second system (CGS) (cgs) a system of measurements in which the units are based on the centimeter as the unit of length, the gram as the unit of mass, and the second as the unit of time.
central nervous system see central nervous system.
centrencephalic system the neurons in the central core of the brainstem from the thalamus to the medulla oblongata, connecting the cerebral hemispheres.
circulatory system see circulatory system.
client system in the general systems framework and theory of goal attainment, the composite of physiological, psychological, sociocultural, and developmental variables that make up the total person.
colloid system (colloidal system) colloid (def. 3).
conduction system (conductive system (of heart)) the system of atypical cardiac muscle fibers, comprising the sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodes, internodal tracts, atrioventricular bundle, bundle branch, and terminal ramifications into the Purkinje network.
digestive system see digestive system.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system a comprehensive program designed to provide services to the patient in the prehospital setting. The system is activated when a call is made to the EMS operator, who then dispatches an ambulance to the patient. The patient receives critical interventions and is stabilized at the scene. A communication system allows the health care workers at the scene to contact a trauma center for information regarding further treatment and disposition of the patient, followed by transportation of the patient to the most appropriate facility for treatment.
endocrine system the system of ductless glands and other structures that produce internal secretions (hormones) that are released directly into the circulatory system, influencing metabolism and other body processes; see endocrine glands.
environmental control system environmental control unit.
expert system a set of computer programs designed to serve as an aid in decision making.
extrapyramidal system see extrapyramidal system.
gateway system a software interface between an online searcher and one or more search systems, facilitating the use of the system by searchers who are unfamiliar with it, or with online retrieval in general.
genitourinary system the organs concerned with production and excretion of urine, together with the reproductive organs. (See Plates.) Called also urogenital system.
haversian system a haversian canal and its concentrically arranged lamellae, constituting the basic unit of structure in compact bone (osteon).
Haversian system: Structures of compact and spongy bone with the central haversian canal surrounded by the lamellae. From Applegate, 2000.
health care system see health care system.
heterogeneous system a system or structure made up of mechanically separable parts, as an emulsion or suspension.
His-Purkinje system the intraventricular conduction system from the bundle of His to the distal Purkinje fibers, which carries the impulse to the ventricles.
Home Health Care Classification system see home health care classification system.
homogeneous system a system or structure made up of parts that cannot be mechanically separated, as a solution.
hypophyseoportal system (hypophysioportal system) (hypothalamo-hypophysial portal system) the venules connecting the hypothalamus with the sinusoidal capillaries of the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland; they carry releasing substances to the pituitary.
immune system see immune system.
interpersonal system in the general systems framework and theory of goal attainment, two or more individuals interacting in a given situation.
lay health system a system comprising an informal referral network and sources of treatment outside the formal biomedical sources of health care; it includes individual consultation and information-seeking through significant others and peers concerning health behaviors, symptoms, and evaluation of treatment before, during, and after consultation with health care professionals.
legal system in the omaha system, anything connected with law or its administration; it includes legal aid, attorney, courts, or Child Protective Services (CPS), and many other agencies and officials.
limbic system a system of brain structures common to the brains of all mammals, comprising the phylogenetically old cortex (archipallium and paleopallium) and its primarily related nuclei. It is associated with olfaction, autonomic functions, and certain aspects of emotion and behavior.
lymphatic system see lymphatic system.
lymphoid system the lymphoid tissue of the body, collectively; it consists of primary (or central) lymphoid tissues, the bone marrow, and thymus, and secondary (or peripheral) tissues, the lymph nodes, spleen, and gut-associated lymphoid tissue (tonsils, Peyer's patches).
lymphoreticular system the lymphoid and reticuloendothelial systems considered together; see also lymphoreticular disorders.
metric system see metric system.
mononuclear phagocyte system the group of highly phagocytic cells that have a common origin from stem cells of the bone marrow and develop circulating monocytes and tissue macrophages, which develop from monocytes that have migrated to connective tissue of the liver (kupffer's cells), lung, spleen, and lymph nodes. The term has been proposed to replace reticuloendothelial system, which includes some cells of different origin and does not include all macrophages.
nervous system see nervous system.
nursing system in the self-care model of nursing, all the actions and interactions of nurses and patients in nursing practice situations; nursing systems fall into three categories: wholly compensatory, partly compensatory, and supportive-educative.
Omaha system see omaha system.
oxygen delivery system a device that delivers oxygen through the upper airways to the lungs at concentrations above that of ambient air. There are two general types: the fixed performance or high flow type, which can supply all of the needs of a patient for inspired gas at a given fractional inspired oxygen; and the variable performance or low flow type, which cannot supply all of the patient's needs for oxygen and delivers fractional inspired oxygen that varies with ventilatory demand.
parasympathetic nervous system see parasympathetic nervous system.
peripheral nervous system the portion of the nervous system consisting of the nerves and ganglia outside the brain and spinal cord.
personal system in the general systems framework and theory of goal attainment, the unified self, a complex whole that is rational, conscious, and feeling and that sets goals and decides on the means of achieving them.
pituitary portal system hypothalamo-hypophysial portal system.
portal system an arrangement by which blood collected from one set of capillaries passes through a large vessel or vessels and another set of capillaries before returning to the systemic circulation, as in the pituitary gland (the hypothalamo-hypophysial portal system) or the liver (the hepatic portal circulation).
renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system see renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
respiratory system the group of specialized organs whose specific function is to provide for the transfer of oxygen from the air to the blood and of waste carbon dioxide from the blood to the air. The organs of the system include the nose, the pharynx, the larynx, the trachea, the bronchi, and the lungs. See also respiration and Plates 7 and 8.
reticular activating system see reticular activating system.
reticuloendothelial system see reticuloendothelial system.
safety system see safety system.
SI system see SI units.
skeletal system see skeletal system.
social system in the general systems framework and theory of goal attainment, an organized boundary system of social roles, behaviors, and practices developed to maintain balance for growth, development, and performance, which involves an exchange of energy and information between the person and the environment for regulation and control of stressors.
support system in the omaha system, the circle of friends, family, and associates that provide love, care, and need gratification; it may include church, school, workplace, or other groupings.
sympathetic nervous system see sympathetic nervous system.
Unified Medical Language system see unified medical language system.
Unified Nursing Language system see unified nursing language system.
unit dose system a method of delivery of patient medications directly to the patient care unit. Following review by a nurse, a copy of the physician's original order is sent to the pharmacy, where the pharmacist reviews it again. The pharmacist then fills the order and delivers the medication to the patient care unit, usually in a 24-hour supply. Each patient has an individual supply of medications prepared and labeled by the pharmacist.
urinary system the system formed in the body by the kidneys, ureters, urinary bladder, and urethra, the organs concerned in the production and excretion of urine.
urogenital system genitourinary system.
vascular system circulatory system.
vasomotor system the part of the nervous system that controls the caliber of the blood vessels.

lymphoid system

it consists of lymphatic vessels, nodes, and lymphoid tissue; it empties into the veins at the level of the superior aperture of the thorax.

lymphatic system

The interconnected system of spaces and vessels between body tissues and organs by which lymph circulates throughout the body.

lymphatic system

a vast, complex network of capillaries, thin vessels, valves, ducts, nodes, and organs that helps protect and maintain the internal fluid environment of the entire body by producing, filtering, and conveying lymph and producing various blood cells. The lymphatic network also transports fats, proteins, and other substances to the blood system and restores 60% of the fluid that filters out of the blood capillaries into interstitial spaces during normal metabolism. Small semilunar valves throughout the lymphatic network help to control the flow of lymph and, at the junction with the venous system, prevent venous blood from flowing into the lymphatic vessels. The lymph collected throughout the body drains into the blood through two ducts situated in the neck. The thoracic duct that rises into the left side of the neck is the major vessel of the lymphatic system and conveys lymph from the whole body, except for the right quadrant, which is served by the right lymphatic duct. Lymph flows into the general circulation through the thoracic duct at a rate of about 125 mL per hour during routine exertion. Various body dynamics such as respiratory pressure changes, muscular contractions, and movements of organs surrounding lymphatic vessels combine to pump the lymph through the lymphatic system. The lymphatic capillaries, which are the beginning of the system, abound in the dermis of the skin, forming a continuous network over the entire body, except for the cornea. The system also includes specialized lymphatic organs, such as the tonsils, the thymus, and the spleen. See also the Color Atlas of Human Anatomy pp. A20-A22, lymph, lymph node, lymph vessels, spleen, thymus.
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Lymphatic system

lymphatic system

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A component of the circulatory system comprising: the lymphatics, and the lymphoid tissues, See: illustration; immune response; immune system; lymph


The lymphatics begin with lymphatic capillaries, permeable endothelial vessels one-cell thick, which absorb interstitial tissue fluid, particles, microbes, debris, and, from the small intestines, fat. Lymphatic capillaries empty into larger lymph vessels that eventually empty their contents (lymph) into the venous circulation through lymphatic ducts.

lymphoid tissues

Lymph nodes are interposed between lymph vessels at some of the junctions between vessels. As it percolates through a lymph node, lymph is modified: debris is filtered out, lymphocytes are activated, and antibodies and lymphocytes are added to the fluid. Other lymphoid tissues have similar functions: The spleen filters the circulating blood, to which it adds antibodies and lymphocytes. Tonsils, Peyer’s patches, and other unencapsulated lymphoid tissues line epithelia that are in contact with the outside environment; unencapsulated lymphoid tissues activate lymphocytes and manufacture antibodies against foreign antigens. Lymphoid tissues in the bone marrow are proliferation and activation centers for lymphocytes, and the thymus is a proliferation and maturation center for T lymphocytes, especially during the neonatal and early postnatal years.

lymphatic system

a system of tubules in vertebrates that drains excess tissue fluid (LYMPH) from the tissue spaces to the blood system. Unlike blood CAPILLARIES, lymph capillaries are blind-ending in the tissue spaces, gradually joining up to larger and larger vessels with two major lymphatic ducts entering the venous system in the upper thoracic cavity. Lymph is not moved along by heart contractions but (as in veins) by the action of skeletal muscles. Lymph vessels contain one-way valves to prevent backflow of fluid to the tissues.

Mammals and some birds possess clumps of lymphatic tissue called LYMPH NODES that act as filters for the removal of pathogens and are also sites of LYMPHOCYTE formation. Nodes are especially prevalent in the neck, underarm and groin, becoming swollen when adjacent to an infection. Besides returning excess water and protein to the blood system and being active in combating infection, lymph (rather than blood) transports fats from the gut wall, the lymph vessels being called LACTEALS since their contents are milky white.

Lymphatic system

A connected network of nodes, or glands, that carry lymph throughout the body. Lymph is a fluid that contains the infection-fighting white blood cells that form part of the body's immune system. Because the network goes throughout the body, cancer cells that enter the lymphatic system can travel to and be deposited at any point into the tissues and organs and form new tumors there.

lymphatic system

takes part in the movement of body fluids and in the immune system. Networks of lymph vessels (lymphatics) drain extracellular fluid as lymph from all body tissues (except the central nervous system), maintaining balance with fluid that enters the tissues from blood capillaries. After passage through regional lymph nodes interpolated in the system of vessels, lymph is returned to the circulating blood via veins in the thorax. The lymph nodes 'filter' the lymph of foreign material, including bacteria, and may become inflamed if draining an area with local infection. lymphocytes originate in the bone marrow and pass into the circulation, where they are one of the types of white blood cell (leucocytes); they also become widely distributed in organs and tissues, notably the spleen, tonsils and gut lining, as well as in the lymph glands. Lymphocytes are involved, by complex interactions between their different types (B- and T-lymphocytes) in the production of specific antibodies (immunoglobulins). An individual can have a total of up to 109 different antibodies carried in the blood, providing defence against specific antigens.

lymphatic system,

n a widespread network of thin vessels, capillaries, ducts, valves, organs, and nodes that primarily produces, filters, and conveys lymph along with producing various blood cells; maintains the internal fluid environment of the body and transports proteins, fats, and other substances to the bloodstream. The tonsils, thymus, and spleen are other major components of the lymphatic system. Also called
lymph system or
lymphoid system.
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Lymphatic system.

lymphatic system

n a complex network of capillaries, thin vessels, valves, ducts, nodes, and organs that helps to protect and maintain the internal fluid environment of the entire body by producing, filtering, and conveying lymph and by producing various blood cells. See also vessels, afferent and vessels, efferent.

lymphatic, lymphoid

1. pertaining to lymph or to a lymphatic vessel.
2. a lymphatic vessel.

lymphatic aplasia
causes distention of other lymphatics where lymph flow is blocked and local edema.
lymphatic ducts
the two larger vessels into which all lymphatic vessels converge. The right lymphatic duct joins the venous system at the junction of the right jugular and subclavian veins and carries lymph from the cranial right side of the body. The left lymphatic duct, or thoracic duct, enters the circulatory system at the junction of the left jugular and subclavian veins; it returns lymph from the cranial left side of the body and caudal to the diaphragm.
lymphatic enlargement
includes distention with lymph as in lymphangiectasia, or thickened as in cutaneous tuberculosis.
lymphatic flow obstruction
by local compression, congenital, segmental aplasia, lymphangitis, lymphadenitis.
lymphatic follicle
see lymph nodule; may be primary or secondary.
inherited lymphatic obstruction edema
inherited as a single recessive in Ayrshire and Hereford cattle; calves are edematous, locally or generally at birth and do not improve; the defect is in aplasia of lymph vessels and nodes.
lymphatic leukemia
see lymphatic leukemia.
lymphatic lumbar trunks
a plexus of lymphatics on the abdominal roof that drain into the cisterna chyli.
lymphatic nodule
see lymph nodule.
primary lymphatic organs
see lymphoid organs.
secondary lymphatic organs
see lymphoid organs.
lymphatic system
the lymphatic vessels and lymphoid tissue, considered collectively. See also circulatory system.
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Lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes in the dog. By permission from Aspinall V, O'Reilly M, Introduction to Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, Butterworth Heinemann, 2004
lymphatic tissue
see lymphoid tissue.
lymphatic vessel obstruction
occurs as a result of pressure from nearby tumors or other space-occupying lesions, because of hypoplasia of lymph nodes in the fetus, in extensive calcinosis, e.g. in Solanum malacoxylon poisoning and in horses not getting sufficient exercise. Called also lymphangiectasia.
lymphatic vessels
the capillaries, collecting vessels, and trunks that collect lymph from the tissues and carry it to the bloodstream; called also lymphatics.
References in periodicals archive ?
The lymphatic system is a crucial part of our immune system and principal route for the reduction of toxins in our bodies.
1986 PSYCHOSOMATIC MEDICINE, the same pattern of scores was linked to the later appearance of another set of disorders--cancers, particularly those of the blood cells and the digestive and lymphatic systems.
IDEC's antibody products act chiefly through immune system mechanisms, exerting their effect by binding to specific, readily targeted immune cells in the patient's blood or lymphatic systems.