How the Heart Works

How the heart works

The heart is the most crucial and hard working organ of a human body. Placed behind the chest bone in the rib cage; the average human heart measures up to the size of a closed fist. The basic purpose of this organ is to pump blood to the entire body. This muscular organ pumps blood through the blood vessels of the circulatory system. Blood is responsible for providing the body with oxygen and nutrients along with the task of removing metabolic wastes. It supports the existence of all other organs, making it fundamental to living.


Basic Structure

For understanding the functioning of the heart its structural details is a prerequisite. It has four chambers – 2 atrium and 2 ventricles along with valves. The atrium is the upper chamber that receives blood. The two lower ventricles are the pumping chambers. Numerous blood vessels called the arteries and veins are connected to the heart. There are four valves that control the flow of blood from atrium to the ventricles and from ventricles to the two main arteries. The four valves are tricuspid, pulmonary, mitral and aortic.

It’s important to understand the position and task of the valves. The tricuspid valve is placed in between the right atrium and the right ventricle.  The mitral valve is positioned between the left atrium and the left ventricle. Basically, the Blood flows out of the right ventricle to the lungs through the pulmonary valve and then blood flows out of the left ventricle to your body through the aortic valve.


Blood Flow

The basic purpose of the heart is to pump oxygen rich blood to different organs, receive oxygen pure blood and again pump the oxygen rich blood. This cycle is continuous till the last breath of a person. Let’s have a look at this cycle in detail.

  • The main veins that bring impure (oxygen pure) blood from all parts of the body are superior vena cava (SVC) and inferior vena cava(IVC).
  • The impure blood enters the right atrium (RA), the upper right chamber.
  • From RV, the blood flows through the tricuspid valve(TV) to the right ventricle(RV), the lower right chamber of the heart.
  • The right ventricle then pumps the pure (oxygen rich) blood through the pulmonary valve into the pulmonary artery.
  • The blood then flows to the left and right pulmonary arteries and finally to the lungs.
  • The process of blood purification happens in the lungs. In the process of breathing, oxygen is put and carbon dioxide is removed from the blood. The blood becomes oxygen rich here in the lungs.
  • The pure blood goes back to the heart in the left atrium through the pulmonary veins.
  • This blood further flows through the mitral valve into the left ventricle which is the lower left chamber of the heart
  • Then the left ventricle pumps the pure blood through the aortic valve into the aorta. Aorta is the main artery that carries oxygen rich blood to all parts of the body.

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