Structure And Function Of The Heart

The heart is a very complex and vital organ. In a nutshell, its structure consists of four cavities and valves that allow blood to always flow in the right direction. 

Structure and functioning of the heart

We all know that the heart is a vital organ and plays the main role in the circulatory system. It is responsible for pumping the oxygenated blood to all areas of the body. While we all know how important this is, we do n’t fully understand the anatomy and how the heart works .

This organ is made up of many parts, but in brief it is made up of  four important cavities: the atria and the ventricles. But many other components are also essential for the correct functioning of the heart.

The heart consists almost entirely of muscle tissue. This gives the hollow organ the ability to contract and expand in order to continuously pump the blood through the vessels. In today’s article you will learn more about the structure and function of the heart. 

Structure and function of the heart: the cavities

The structure of the heart is complex, and all elements must be perfectly coordinated. This is the only way to ensure correct blood flow in the body. The heart has to beat hard enough and direct the blood in the right direction.

The  heart is a hollow organ that consists of four cavities: two atria and two heart chambers. It is divided into the left and right side: the left atrial chamber is connected to the left ventricle via the mitral valve. The right atrial chamber is connected to the right ventricle via the tricuspid valve.

How the heart works

The left atrium

The oxygen-rich blood flows from the lungs through the pulmonary veins into the left atrium and then passes through the mitral valve into the left ventricle. 

The left ventricle

As soon as the mitral valve opens, the pressure difference causes the blood to enter the heart chamber. In this way, the left ventricle of the heart receives oxygen-enriched blood, which is directed into the main artery (aorta). When the heart chamber contracts, it pumps blood into the aorta to distribute it around the body. The aortic valve is located at the origin of the main artery.

The right atrium

The used, deoxygenated blood flows into the right atrium via the superior and inferior vena cava. It then reaches the right ventricle via the tricuspid valve. 

The right ventricle

The blood flows from the right ventricle via the pulmonary artery into the lungs. This is where gas exchange takes place, through which the blood is again enriched with oxygen. 

Structure and function of the heart: the heart valves

The heart valves take on the function of a valve and prevent  the blood from flowing back in the wrong direction. So they make it possible for the blood to flow from the atrium into the ventricle, for example, and then not be able to return.

As already mentioned, the following heart valves are responsible for this:

  • Mitral valve on the left side,
  • Tricuspid valve on the right side.

But there are also valves on the pulmonary artery and the main artery that prevent the blood from flowing back into the ventricle. This is the only way for the heart to function effectively.

Structure and function of the heart: the heart valves

Structure and functioning of the heart: lesser known elements

In addition to the atria and ventricles, there are other  essential elements in the heart that are less well known. This includes, for example, the sinus node.

The sinus node is a structure that works like a pacemaker. This clock generator generates electrical impulses that pull the heart muscle together.

There is also the atrioventricular node (AV), which is also part of the cardiac conduction system. It enables the impulse generated by the sinus node to be correctly passed on. This knot continues into the bundle of His and the Purkinje fibers.

Short Summary

The heart is a complex and vital hollow organ. Put simply, it consists of four cavities and the heart valves that allow blood to flow in the right direction. In addition, lesser-known structures such as the sinus node or the atrioventricular node are essential to guarantee proper conduction. The blood vessels that carry or divert blood to the heart are also essential.

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