Functional classification of blood vessels

Functionally, the blood vessels can be classified into the following five groups.

(a) Distributing vessels, including arteries;

(b) Resistance vessels, including arterioles and precapillary sphincters;

(c) Exchange vessels, including capillaries, sinusoids, and postcapillary venules;

(d) Reservoir (capacitance) vessels, including larger venules and veins; and

(e) Shunts, including various types of anastomoses.