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  • Heart Anatomy & Blood Flow

        Heart Anatomy & Blood Flow


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        Anatomy of the Heart

        The heart is the hollow, muscular organ in the thoracic cavity (chest) that maintains the circulation of blood throughout the body. It is surrounded by a membrane called the pericardium. The pericardium consists of a layer of fibrous connective tissue and a layer of thin, serous (i.e., produces a secretion) tissue and is attached to the vena cava, the aorta, the diaphragm, and the sternum. The pericardial cavity¬óthe potential space between the pericardium and the heart¬ócontains the watery pericardial fluid. This fluid prevents friction between the pericardium and the heart.

        The heart wall consists of the epicardium (inner layer), the myocardium (middle layer comprised of cardiac muscle tissue), and the endocardium (lining of the myocardium that covers the heart valves).

        The heart has a right side and a left side. Each side has a relatively thin-walled chamber that receives blood returning to the heart (atrium) and a muscular chamber that pumps blood out of the heart (ventricle).

        Blood Flow

        The flow of blood through the heart is controlled by the opening and closing of valves and the contraction and relaxation of the myocardium. Heart valves are controlled by pressure changes within each chamber and contraction and relaxation are controlled by the heart’s conduction system.

        Blood that has traveled through the body returns to the heart and enters the right atrium. This blood flows through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle. The right ventricle pumps the blood to the lungs, where it absorbs oxygen. Oxygen-rich blood returns from the lungs and enters the heart through the left atrium. Blood passes from the left atrium through the mitral valve and into the left ventricle.

        The left ventricle, the largest and most muscular of the four chambers, is the main pumping chamber of the heart. When the left ventricle contracts, blood is pumped through the aortic valve into the main artery of the body (aorta). The aorta supplies blood to smaller arteries that travel to the head, arms, abdomen, and legs. These arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the organs and tissues of the body, which require oxygen to function. The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the tissues of the heart.

        Oxygen-poor blood travels from organs and tissues to the heart through veins. The vena cava is the major vein that returns blood to the right atrium of the heart. The vena cava superior returns blood from the head, neck, upper extremities, and chest. The vena cava inferior returns blood from the lower extremities, the pelvis, and the abdomen. The coronary sinus drains blood from the coronary arteries into the right atrium.

        Conduction System

        An electrical impulse travels through the heart and initiates contractions of the chambers. The heart’s “spark plug” is an area of specialized heart tissue called the sinoatrial node (SA node), which is located in the right atrium. Each time the SA node “fires,” an electrical impulse is generated that travels through the right and left atria, signaling these chambers to contract and pump blood into the ventricles.

        The impulse then travels into another area of specialized heart tissue called the atrioventricular node (AV node), which is located between the atria and the ventricles. The electrical impulse is conducted through the AV node and wire-like pathways (Purkinje fibers) to the ventricles, signaling the ventricles to contract and pump blood into the lungs and throughout the body.

        The normal sequence of electrical activation of the chambers of the heart is called sinus rhythm. It occurs each time the heart beats, usually about 60 to 80 times every minute. In a normal heartbeat, the atria contract simultaneously while the ventricles relax. Then, the ventricles relax and the atria contract. The term systole refers to contraction and the term diastole refers to relaxation. A heartbeat consists of the systole and diastole of the atria and the systole and diastole of the ventricles.

        Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at HealthCommunities.com

        Published: 28 Feb 2002

        Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015

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        49 terms

        Emily_Grevera

        CHAPTER 13: THE HEART

        STUDY

        PLAY

        D. Epicardium
        The visceral pericardium is also called the
        A. Endocardium
        B. Myocardium
        C. Mediastinium
        D. Epicardium
        A. Left atrium
        Blood returning from the lungs enters the
        A. Left atrium
        B. Left ventricle
        C. Right atrium
        D. Right ventricle
        E. Aorta
        C. right atrium
        Blood returning from the systemic circulation first enters the
        A. left atrium
        B. left ventricle
        C. right atrium
        D. right ventricle
        E. coronary artery
        B. pulmonary trunk
        Blood leaving the right ventricle enters the
        A. pulmonary veins
        B. pulmonary trunk
        C. superior vena cava
        D. inferior vena cava
        E. aorta
        C. left atrium
        The left ventricle receives blood from the
        A. right atrium
        B. right ventricle
        C. left atrium
        D. inferior vena cava
        E. pulmonary trunk
        E. superior vena cava
        The right atrium receives blood from the
        A. pulmonary arteries
        B. pulmonary veins
        C. pulmonary trunk
        D. arteries and veins
        E. superior vena cava
        B. between the left atrium and left ventricle
        The bicuspid or mitral valve is located
        A. between the right atrium and right ventricle
        B. between the left atrium and left ventricle
        C. where the vena cavae join the right atrium
        D. the opening of the pulmonary trunk
        E. in the opening of the aorta
        C. lungs
        The left and right pulmonary arteries carry blood to the
        A. brain
        B. heart
        C. lungs
        D. liver
        E. spleen
        A. heart
        The left and right pulmonary veins carry blood to the
        A. heart
        B. liver
        C. brain
        D. lungs
        E. spleen
        B. tricuspid valve
        The atrioventricular valve that is located between the right atrium and ventricle is also called the
        A. mitral valve
        B. tricuspid valve
        C. bicuspid valve
        D. aortic semilunar valve
        E. pulmonary semilunar valve
        C. pulmonary trunk
        The pulmonary semilunar valve guards the entrance to the
        A. right ventricle
        B. left ventricle
        C. pulmonary trunk
        D. pulmonary veins
        E. aorta
        D. lungs
        The right ventricle pumps blood to the
        A. left atrium
        B. left ventricle
        C. systematic circuit
        D. lungs
        E. brian
        C. systemic circuit
        The left ventricle pumps blood to the
        A. right atrium
        B. right ventricle
        C. systemic circuit
        D. lungs
        E. left atrium
        B. 75
        How many times does the average heart beat per minute?
        A. 50
        B. 75
        C. 100
        D. 110
        E. 140
        A. right atrium
        The pacemaker of the heart is located in the
        A. right atrium
        B. right ventricle
        C. left atrium
        D. left ventricle
        E. arch of the aorta
        A. P wave
        Depolarization of the atria represents on an electrocardiogram as the
        A. P wave
        B. Q wave
        C. S wave
        D. T wave
        E. QRS complex
        B. ventricular repolarization
        The T wave on an electrocardiogram represents
        A. ventricular depolarization
        B. ventricular re polarization
        C. ventricular contraction
        D. atrial depolarization
        E. atrial repolarization
        D. the atrioventricular valves close
        The first heart sound is heard when
        A. the semilunar valves close
        B. the atria contract
        C. the atrioventricular valves open
        D. the atrioventricular valves close
        E. blood enters the lungs
        A. ventricular systole
        The QRS complex represents
        A. ventricular systole
        B. ventricular diastole
        C. atrial diastole
        D. atrial systole
        E. atrial kick
        E. the atrioventricular valves are closed
        During ventricular systole
        A. the pressure in the ventricles decreases
        B. the ventricles are relaxed
        C. the atria are contracting
        D. blood is entering the ventricle
        E. the atrioventricular valves are closed
        base
        The great vessels of the heart are located at the __________ of the heart.
        veins
        ___________ are blood vessels that usually return blood to the heart.
        septum
        The wall that is located between ventricles is know as the _____.
        perocardio
        The heart is surrounded by the _________ perocardio cavity.
        deoxygenated
        The pulmonary trunk carries ___________ blood.
        left
        Pulmonary veins return to the _____________ atrium.
        cardiac cycle
        The period between the start of one heartbeat and the beginning of the next is called __________ ___________.
        endocardium
        The most inner layer of the heart is the ____________.
        mitral
        The bicuspid valve is also called the __________ valve.
        myocardium
        The muscle layer of the heart is the __________.
        Arteries
        __________ are blood vessels that usually carry blood away from the heart.
        systole
        The contraction phase of the cardiac cycle is called ________.
        diastole
        The relaxation phase of the cardiac cycle is called __________.
        right
        The coronary sinus enters the _________ atrium.
        left
        The thickest part of the heart wall is located in the __________ ventricle.
        perocardial
        The heart is surrounded by the __________ cavity.
        portal system
        The hepatic portal vein pathway is called the hepatic __________ ___________.
        leg, thigh
        The saphenous vein is located in the _________ and __________.
        An enlarged vein joining the cardiac veins to empty into the right atrium is called the coronary __________.
        False
        The volume of blood discharged from the ventricle with each contraction in adults is called cardiac output.
        True
        The pericardium is a serous membrane that surrounds the heart.
        False
        The tricuspid valve lies between the left atrium and ventricle.
        False
        The right ventricle’s muscular wall is thicker than that of the left.
        True
        The pulmonary and aortic valves have "half-moon" shapes and are referred to as "semilunar valves".
        False
        The right atrium receives high-oxygen blood through the pulmonary veins.
        False
        The first two aortic branches are called the right and left common carotid arteries.
        True
        Capillaries connect the smallest arterioles to the smallest venules.
        True
        Capillary blood pressure favors filtration whereas colloid osmotic pressure favors reabsorption.
        False
        Histamine causes vasoconstriction of the arterioles near the capillaries to decrease capillary permeability.
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