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Diagram of Blood Flow Through the Human Heart
By Mag D
Are you concerned about your heart health and you want to know the function of your heart? Here, you will see a labelled picture of any human heart and a diagram showing how blood flows through it. Ready to see a picture of a real heart and where is it located on your body?
The anatomy of the human heart is somewhat complex, but it's not that hard to understand. Below is a labelled diagram showing the exterior view.
Importantly, you have to know that your heart is a very small organ, normally compared to a size of a human fist. Its function is to pump oxygenated blood to all your body parts to keep you healthy.
The average human heart rate for adults can be between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
The structure below makes it easy to understand the anatomy of the human heart. The heart consists of three layers of tissue: the endocardium, myocardium and pericardium.
Pericardium refers to the sac that encases and protects the heart. Myocardium refers to the heart's middle layer or muscle, whose function is to enable the heart to contract naturally. Finally, the endocardium is the innermost layer or the lining of the myocardium and heart valves.
Process of Blood Flow Through the Heart's Chambers and Valves
The interior of the heart has a solid muscular wall called a septum, which divides it into two halves, the left and the right. The top part of the heart is also divided into two parts implying that there are four chambers.
The top chambers are called the left and right atrium and they collect blood from the body; while, the bottom chambers are called the left and right ventricle.
What is the function of the ventricles? The right ventricle pumps deoxygenated or oxygen-poor blood to the lungs through the pulmonary valve, while the left ventricle pumps blood to all parts of your body.
The heart valves control the direction of blood flow through the heart and prevents back flow.
The right valve, known as the tricupsid, consists of three flaps; while the left valve, known as the mitral, has two flaps to direct blood flow through the heart.
These valves open and close when necessary and depending on the pressure inside your artery.
The aortic valve allows blood to flow to all parts of your body.
The pressure in the left and right atrium must be greater than that within the left and right ventricle, for blood to flow correctly in the right direction.
The process of blood flow inside the heart is described below:
- Deoxygenated blood enters the right atrium; the right valve or tricuspid valve opens to allow blood to flow into the right ventricle;
- Blood is then pumped through the pulmonary artery via the pulmonary valve, which closes to prevent the back flow of blood into the right ventricle as the heart muscle relaxes. This process is called diastole;
- The pulmonary artery carries the venous blood to the lungs, where gaseous exchange occurs;
- Deoxygenated blood picks up new oxygen and all waste products such as carbon dioxide are removed;
- Blood enriched with oxygen moves from the lungs to the left atrium through the pulmonary veins;
- The mitral valve opens to allow oxygen-rich blood to enter the left ventricle; and then enters the aorta, the first artery of the pulmonary and systemic circulation of the cardiovascular system, and is distributed to all parts of your body.
If your heart's optimal function is diminished, the heart works harder. This directly affects your blood pressure and consequently your cardiac blood flow. The complications include heart attack and left and right sided congestive heart failure.
The heart conducts itself naturally and pumps blood in a regular rhythm using its electrical system. This involves the sinoatrial node or SA-node, which is found in the right atrium and enables the natural contraction of the heart.
The SA-node sends regular electrical signals between the top chambers (atria) of the heart and the bottom chambers (ventricles). This causes the atria to contract and release blood into the ventricles.
The atrio-ventricular node, also called the AV-node, spreads out the electrical signal to the ventricles and enables the heart to contract and pump blood to all your body parts, and to the lungs through the pulmonary artery.
A picture of human heart illustrating the natural heart electrical system is shown below.
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