The volume of blood returning to the right atrium of the heart. The heart can only pump as much blood as it receives, therefore increases in cardiac output (for example, during exercise when cardiac output may exceed 30 l min−1) are dependent on venous return increasing to that amount. The muscle pump, respiratory pump, and venoconstriction contribute to the increase in venous return during exercise. See also Starling's law.
Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.