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army anatomy

army anatomy

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Published by: hi_lands on Aug 22, 2008
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a. Three Layers. The heart (figure 2–4) has three layers: a thin, outer, serous
covering called the epicardium; a thick, muscular wall, the myocardium; and an inner
lining, the endocardium, which is continuous with the lining (endothelium) of the blood

b. Four Chambers. The interior of the heart is divided into halves by a
muscular wall, the septum; and each half is further divided into an upper chamber, the
atrium; and a lower chamber, the ventricle. Consequently, there are four chambers in
the heart; two atria and two ventricles. Each atrium communicates with its
corresponding ventricle (that is, the one on the same side) by means of an opening
called the atrioventricular opening. The muscular walls of the ventricles are much
thicker than those of the atria, and the wall of the left ventricle is thicker than that of the
right ventricle. This difference in structure is due to the fact, that the ventricles, which
eject the blood from the heart, perform more work than the atria, which receive the
blood. The left ventricle pumping blood to the body performs more work than does the
right ventricle, which pumps blood only to the lungs.

c. Valves. The four chambers of the heart are lined with endocardium. At each
of the openings from the chambers, this lining folds on itself and extends into the
opening to form valves. These valves allow the blood to pass from a chamber but
prevent its return. The tricuspid valve lies between the right atrium and ventricle. It has
three flaps, or cusps, from which it derives its name. The bicuspid valve, between the
left atrium and ventricle, is also called the mitral valve. These two valves serve to
prevent the backflow of blood from the ventricles to the atria. At the outlets of the
ventricles are the semilunar valves, which prevent the backflow of blood from the
arteries. The semilunar valve on the right is called the pulmonary valve; the one on the
left is the aortic valve.



Figure 2–4. The heart.

d. Blood Supply. Blood from the upper part of the body enters the right atrium
by way of a large vein, the superior vena cava, and from the lower part of the body by
the inferior vena cava. When the right atrium becomes filled, it contracts, and blood is
forced through the open tricuspid valve into the right ventricle.

e. Heart Regulation.

(1) The sinoatrial node. The sinoatrial (SA) node is a small, specialized
tissue located in the posterior of the right atrium between the opening of the superior
vena cava and the coronary sinus. The SA node is the pacemaker of the heart. Under
normal conditions, it produces the impulses that determine the heartbeat.



(2) The atrioventricular node. In the lower part of the inner wall of the right
atrium and above the valves opening into the right ventricle, there is a special tissue
called the atrioventricular (AV) node. This node also functions in contracting the heart.
The AV node acts as a relay station for the impulses originated by the SA node.

f. Cardiac Cycle. The action of the heart occurs as a cycle, repeated
continuously and in regular rate and rhythm. The cycle consists of alternate contraction
and relaxation of the heart, the wave of contraction beginning in the atria and spreading
to the ventricles. This phase of contraction is known as systole; that of relaxation is
called diastole. Several actions occur simultaneously during each phase. During the
systolic phase, both atria contract at the same time, followed in an instant by the
simultaneous contraction of the ventricles. At the beginning of ventricular contraction,
the tricuspid and bicuspid valves close; at the end of ventricular contraction, the aortic
and pulmonary semilunar valves close. Immediately upon closure of the semilunar
valves, the diastolic phase, or rest period, begins. During this phase, the atria and then
the ventricles relax as blood flows into the atria and ventricles. As the atria become
filled, the AV valves open, the atria contract, and the systolic phase begins again.

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