A binary vascular system was a type of circulatory system in which the blood vessels led to two hearts.
Species with a binary vascular system Edit
In general, binary vascular systems were not common amongst humanoids.
A Gallifreyan could survive with only one heart, should the other be punctured, destroyed, or temporarily stop beating, though he or she would be weakened greatly. (PROSE: Managra, TV: The Shakespeare Code, The Power of Three)
On one occasion, the Doctor's second heart was extracted from his chest and implanted in Sabbath, leaving the Doctor no longer able to process drugs and deprived of his respiratory bypass system while otherwise capable of operating at a human level, although his remaining heart had to increase its usual rate of beats to a worryingly rapid pulse and he was prone to becoming far more fatigued than usual. At the same time, the heart that Sabbath had stolen endowed Sabbath with the ability to penetrate "deep time" (travelling further away from his homeworld than should be possible), simultaneously creating a link between the Doctor and Sabbath that meant that the Doctor would survive grievous wounds as his heart was still beating in Sabbath, until Sabbath tore the heart out, its death allowing the Doctor to grow a new one. (PROSE: The Adventuress of Henrietta Street, Hope, Camera Obscura)
However, the Eleventh Doctor claimed that he wouldn't survive much longer after one of his hearts was stopped by a Shakri cube. A defibrillator was used to get both hearts working again, in this case. (TV: The Power of Three)
A binary vascular system provided some level of protection from attack, in that single-hearted humanoids failed to aim correctly when attempting a close-range attack. The Fifth Doctor, for instance, was once stabbed in the chest, but survived because his human attacker aimed for the spot where the human heart would be. Because the Doctor's two hearts were in a slightly different location, the attack was ineffectual. (AUDIO: Son of the Dragon)
Hearts and regeneration Edit
A Time Lord's regenerative process was intimately linked to his or her hearts. Some accounts held that Time Lords had only one heart until they regenerated for the first time. (PROSE: The Man in the Velvet Mask) Equally, regeneration could be completely stopped — and the Time Lord therefore killed immediately regardless of how many lives they had left — if both hearts were pierced or shot simultaneously. Andred and Serena were both killed in this manner, (AUDIO: Imperiatrix, PROSE: World Game) while Cavis was permanently killed after she was decapitated in her first incarnation by her enemy stabbing her mid-regeneration in both her original heart and the place where the second one would grow. (PROSE: The Shadows of Avalon)
Missy recommended eight snipers, with three trained on each of her hearts and two for her brain stem, so that Clara Oswald could feel safe while speaking to her, noting that they'd have to "switch [her] off fast" before she could regenerate. (TV: The Magician's Apprentice)