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THE HEART Heart is a hollow muscular organ that pumps blood through the body. Theheart, blood, and blood vessels make up the circulatory system, which is responsible for distributing oxygen and nutrients to the body and carrying away carbon dioxide and other waste products. The heart is the circulatory system's power supply. It must beat ceaselessly because the body's tissues-especially the brain and the heart itself-depend on a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients delivered by the flowing blood. If the heart stops pumping blood for more than a few minutes, death will result. The human heart is shaped like an upside-down pear and is located slightly to the left of center inside the chest cavity within the bony thorax and is flanked on each side by the lungs. Its more pointed apex is directed toward the left hip and rests on the diaphragm, approximately at the level of the fifth intercostal space. Its broader posterosuperior aspect, orbase, from which the great vessels of the body emerge, points toward the right shoulder and lies beneath the second rib. About the size of a closed fist, the heart is made primarily of muscle tissue that contracts rhythmically to propel blood to all parts of the body. This rhythmic contraction begins in the developing embryo about three weeks after conception and continues throughout an individual's life. The muscle rests only for a fraction of a second between beats. Over a typical life span of 76 years, the heart will beat nearly 2.8 billion times and move 169 million liters (179 million quarts) of blood.
opens to allow the de-oxygenated blood collected in the right atrium to flow into the right ventricle. Tricuspid Valve The tricuspid valve separates the right atrium from the right ventricle. Inferior Vena Cava The inferior vena cava is one of the two main veins bringing de-oxygenated blood from the body to the heart. It opens to allow the deoxygenated blood collected in the right atrium to flow into the right ventricle. Veins from the legs and lower torso feed into the inferior vena cava. which separates the right atrium from the right ventricle. which empties into the right atrium of the heart. It closes as the . Veins from the head and upper body feed into the superior vena cava.Superior Vena Cava The superior vena cava is one of the two main veins bringing de-oxygenated blood from the body to the heart. The sinoatrial node sends an impulse that causes the cardiac muscle tissue of the atrium to contract in a coordinated. Right Atrium The right atrium receives de-oxygenated blood from the body through the superior vena cava (head and upper body) and inferior vena cava (legs and lower torso). which empties into the right atrium of the heart. The tricuspid valve. wave-like manner.
right ventricle contracts. Pulmonary Valve The pulmonary valve separates the right ventricle from the pulmonary artery. preventing blood from returning to the right atrium. The closure of the mitral valve prevents blood from backing into the left atrium and the opening of the aortic valve allows the blood to flow into the aorta and flow throughout the body. they contract. The blood passes through the mitral valve into the left ventricle. the tricuspid valve closes and the pulmonary valve opens. the blood passes through the mitral valve into the left ventricle. thereby. It opens to allow the oxygenated blood collected in the left atrium to flow into the left ventricle. It closes as the left ventricle contracts. forcing it to exit through the pulmonary valve into the pulmonary artery. A common misconception is that all arteries carry oxygen-rich blood. Right Ventricle The right ventricle receives de-oxygenated blood as the right atrium contracts. Left Ventricle The left ventricle receives oxygenated blood as the left atrium contracts. Left Atrium The left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs through the pulmonary vein. A common misconception is that all veins carry de-oxygenated blood. The closure of the tricuspid valve prevents blood from backing into the right atrium and the opening of the pulmonary valve allows the blood to flow into the pulmonary artery toward the lungs. It is more appropriate to classify veins as vessels carrying blood to the heart. the mitral valve closes and the aortic valve opens. . Once the ventricles are full. Once the ventricles are full. forcing it to exit through the aortic valve into the aorta. allowing the ventricle to fill with blood. it opens to allow the de-oxygenated blood collected in the right ventricle to flow to the lungs. It is more appropriate to classify arteries as vessels carrying blood away from the heart. Pulmonary Artery The pulmonary artery is the vessel transporting de-oxygenated blood from the right ventricle to the lungs. preventing blood from returning to the left atrium. they contract. As the left ventricle contracts. It closes as the ventricles relax. preventing blood from returning to the heart. As the contraction triggered by the sinoatrial node progresses through the atria. Mitral Value The mitral valve separates the left atrium from the left ventricle. allowing the ventricle to fill with blood. Pulmonary Vein The pulmonary vein is the vessel transporting oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the left atrium. thereby. The aortic valve leading into the aorta is closed. The pulmonary valve leading into the pulmonary artery is closed. As the ventricles contract. As the right ventricle contracts.
From these three arteries arise smaller branches that enter the muscular walls of the heart to provide a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients. also lines the body's blood vessels. Aorta The aorta is the largest single blood vessel in the body. This vessel carries oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle to the various parts of the body. the left circumflex. known as myocardium or cardiac muscle. these blood vessels encircle the heart like a crown. white tissue known as the endocardium. preventing blood from returning to the heart. About 5 percent of the blood pumped to the body enters the coronary arteries. It closes as the ventricles relax. wraps around a scaffolding of tough connective tissue to form the walls of the heart's chambers. Layers of the Heart Myocardium Muscle tissue. The same type of tissue. it opens to allow the oxygenated blood collected in the left ventricle to flow throughout the body. It is approximately the diameter of your thumb. forming one continuous lining throughout the circulatory system. As the ventricles contract. The left ventricle has the thickest walls-nearly 1 cm (0. double-layered sac known as the pericardium surrounds the heart. Three main coronary arteries-the right. and the left anterior descendingnourish different regions of the heart muscle. which branch from the aorta just above where it emerges from the left ventricle. more broadly referred to as endothelium.5 in) thick in an adult-because it must work the hardest to propel blood to the farthest reaches of the body. This lining helps blood flow smoothly and prevents blood clots from .Aortic Valve The aortic valve separates the left ventricle from the aorta. Veins running through the heart muscle converge to form a large channel called the coronary sinus. have relatively thin walls compared to the ventricles. known as the epicardium. The inner layer of the pericardium. Between the two layers of the pericardium is a thin space filled with a watery fluid that helps prevent these layers from rubbing against each other when the heart beats. Endocardium The inner surfaces of the heart's chambers are lined with a thin sheet of shiny. the pumping chambers. rests directly on top of the heart muscle. The outer layer of the pericardium attaches to the breastbone and other structures in the chest cavity and helps hold the heart in place. which returns blood to the right atrium. Pericardium A tough. the receiving chambers of the heart. Known as the coronary arteries. CORONARY ARTERIES The heart is nourished not by the blood passing through its chambers but by a specialized network of blood vessels. The atria.
.forming inside the circulatory system.
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