A heart keeps the human body alive and functioning without interruption. But how exactly is the heart built and how does it work? In this article we will take a closer look at the anatomy of a person’s heart.
How does the heart work?
The heart is one of the most important organs in our body and keeps us alive. It never stops and cannot afford to take a break. Even during sleep, the heart continues to beat diligently.
And the anatomy of the heart is actually simpler than it seems at first glance. That’s because our heart works like a pump, or rather, like a bicycle pump. Instead of air, the heart pumps blood throughout our body.
This is also called the cardiovascular system. Now, the cardiovascular system can be divided into two different circuits. First, there is the systemic circulation, which is the larger circulation. And the smaller circulation is the pulmonary circulation.
The most important components of the cardiovascular system are the arteries and veins. Veins are usually represented with the colour blue and arteries with the colour red. Veins flow towards the heart and contain deoxygenated blood. Arteries, on the other hand, run away from the heart and contain oxygenated blood. There is one exception: the pulmonary vein is supplied with oxygen-rich blood and the pulmonary artery with oxygen-poor blood.
- In a person’s pulmonary circulation, the heart pumps deoxygenated blood from the right ventricle into the pulmonary artery. The pulmonary artery then divides into many different small arteries. As it does so, the small arteries branch into even smaller arterioles and then eventually into capillaries. Capillaries are very small vessels in the human body.
- Once the deoxygenated blood has reached the capillaries of the lungs, gas exchange takes place there. This is because deoxygenated blood is also rich in carbon dioxide. Thus carbon dioxide is released through the lungs and incidentally oxygen is taken up through respiration.
- Since the blood has now been supplied with oxygen, it now takes the route through the veins. In the process, the oxygen-rich blood flows through the small venules until it reaches the larger veins and finally the pulmonary vein. The pulmonary veins are connected to the left atrium of the heart and supply it with oxygen-rich blood.
- The blood then enters the wider systemic circulation.
Circulation of the body
- From the left side of the heart, blood flows through the aortic valve into the aorta. The aorta is also called the main artery.
- Arriving at the aorta, the blood passes into the arteries. These in turn branch off into smaller arterioles to the capillaries in the head and body. Here again an exchange of oxygen takes place, this time with the cells of the body tissues.
- In the process, the cells are supplied with oxygen and important nutrients. Meanwhile, the blood absorbs carbon dioxide and waste products from the cells.
- Thus, the now oxygen-depleted blood is once again delivered to the body through the venules and veins. There, the deoxygenated blood finally enters the right ventricle and the cardiac cycle starts again from the small pulmonary circulation.
Did you know that? There are also interesting facts about the anatomy of the heart. For example, if you add up the length of all the blood vessels, you get a total length of about 90,000-100,000 km. That’s almost twice the circumference of our earth.
How does the heart beat?
While the heart is busy pumping like a bicycle pump, the heart continues to contract. When it contracts, it transports blood through the blood vessels in the body. When the heart relaxes, it fills with blood. The heart is a muscle. This makes the heart one of the strongest muscles in our body.
When the heart contracts, we perceive it as a heartbeat. If you touch your chest, you feel a strong heartbeat. As a rule, the heart beats between 50 and 80 times per minute. In special situations, the heart can even beat up to 200 times per minute.
Basically, a heartbeat is divided into systole and diastole. Systole is the tension phase of the heart. Diastole is the heart’s relaxation phase. In general, the heart handles this by means of electrical impulses that are formed in the sinus node. The sinus node is the heart’s natural pacemaker.
Anatomy of the heart: how is the heart built?
A human heart is usually the size of a fist and is located approximately in the centre of our chest. And not so many assume on the left side of the chest. This is because about 2/3 of the heart is located on the left side of the chest. The remaining 1/3 is on the right side. Sometimes a human heart can be bigger than a fist. This is often the case with athletes. This is because athletes or sportsmen and women need a high level of endurance in the sporting activities they do.
Structure of a human heart
The heart is also called a hollow body because it is a muscle that is hollow. The heart is divided by a septum into two halves, the left and right halves of the heart. Both halves consist of a small atrium and a ventricle.
The hollow body consists of the following components:
- Heart valves
- Coronary arteries
- Ventricular septum
- Hollow vein
- Pulmonary veins
- Pulmonary artery
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