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The Heart


The Heart is made up of a powerful muscle called Myocardium. “The Myocardium is

composed of cardiac muscle fibers that contracts and causes a wringing type of action.
The size of you heart is a little larger than the size of your fist.” The location of the
heart is about left-center of your chest. The heart are two separate pumps that
continuously sends blood throughout the body carrying nutrients, oxygen, and helping
remove wastes. The right side of the heart receives blood low in oxygen. The left side
of the heart receives blood that has been oxygenated by the lungs. The blood is then
pumped out into the Aorta and to all parts of the body. The diagram above gives
plenty of detail and I’m now going to explain each function:

Right Atrium:

The Right Atrium is larger than the Left Atrium but has thinner walls. The Right
Atrium has two major veins that returns blood to the heart from all parts of the body.
“Two major veins returning the blood to the heart are the Superior Vena Cava and the
Inferior Vena Cava. These two veins are sometimes called the "Great Veins". The
Superior Vena Cava returns the deoxygenated blood from the upper part of the body
and the Inferior Vena Cava returns the deoxygenated blood from the lower part of the
body.” The Right Atrium receives blood back from the heart muscle itself. After the
blood is collected in the Right Atrium it is pumped into the Right Ventricle through
the Tricuspid Valve.


Left Atrium:

The Left Atrium receives blood from four Pulmonary Veins. The blood received from
the lungs has been oxygenated. The oxygenated blood that is collected in Left Atrium
is then pumped into the Left Ventricle through the Bicuspid Valve.

Right Ventricle:

The Right Ventricle receives blood from the Right Atrium. When the Heart contract
the blood is forced out through the Pulmonary Semilunar Valve into the Pulmonary
Artery. The Pulmonary Semilunar Valve stops the backflow of blood. The walls of
the Right Ventricle are a little thicker than the Right Atrium.

Left Ventricle:

The chamber of the Left Ventricle has walls that are a lot thicker than the right
ventricle. This is important because the oxygenated blood that it receives from the
Left Atrium has to be pump throughout the body. “The Bicuspid Valve closes and the
blood is collected in the Left Ventricle. The closing of the Bicuspid Valve stops the
backflow of blood.” When the Heart muscle contracts the blood is forced through the
Aortic Semilunar Valve.The blood then passes through the Aortic Semilunar Valve
into the Aorta.



“The Aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. The inner diameter of the Aorta is
about 1 inch. The Aorta carries oxygenated blood to every other part of the body. The
Aorta receives it's blood from the Left Ventricle.”


The Septum is a partition that separates the right and left sides of the Heart. There are
two separate regions of the Septum. They are the Interatrial Septum that separates the
Atriums and the Interventrial Septurm that separates the Ventricles. “The Interventrial
Septum is suppose to be closed all the time but sometimes an opening is present at
birth. This would be considered a Congenital heart disease.”


Superior Vena Cava:

The importance of the Superior Vena Cava is to return blood back to the Right Atrium
from the upper part of the body. It is one of the largest veins in the body.

Inferior Vena Cava:

The Inferior Vena Cava is important for carrying the blood back to the Right Atrium
from the lower part of the body.

Pulmonary Arteries:

The Pulmonary Arteries carry the blood from the Right Ventricle to both of the lungs.
There the blood is oxygenated and sent to the Left Atrium in the heart.

Pulmonary Veins:

The Pulmonary Veins carry the oxygenated blood back to the Left Atrium in the


The arteries are elastic, muscular tubes that carry the blood from the left ventricle of
the heart to the capillaries. The walls of the arteries are thicker than the other vessels
because of the high pressure. The largest artery is the aorta. The walls of the arteries
are 3 layers thick. The inner layer, consists of single flatten cells. The middle layer,is
the thickest part of the artery wall. The outer layer gives strength to the wall of the
artery. The wall thickness of the arteries prevent the arteries from collapsing.
Sometimes there is a weakness in a wall of an artery and this causes the artery to
bulge. This expansion of the artery is called an aneurysm. There is also a problem of
the arteries that involves lack of elasticity..


The veins carry blood from capillaries to the heart. The veins increase in size as they
progress toward the heart. “The veins that connect to the capillaries are venules. They
are the smallest of the veins.” The veins tend to follow a path parallel with the
arteries. However, there are more veins than arteries this is due to the draining of
large areas when needed. The veins at any one moment carries about 70 percent of the


The veins are like the arteries in that they have three layers in their walls. However,
they are not as thick as arteries. Located with the veins are valves that allow blood to
flow toward the heart but does not allow blood to flow backwards. “The veins that are
in the lower part of the body tend to have more valves to counteract the force of
gravity.” The only vein that does not have valves is the vena cava.



“Blood vessels are hollow tubes that carry blood through miles and miles of blood
vessels in a never ending stream. If you could take all the blood vessels of a average
size child and line them up they could reach about 60,000 miles long. In an adult the
blood vessels could reach 100,000 miles long.”


The blood vessels carry blood between the heart, different tissues, and organs of the
body. There are three types of blood vessels: arteries, veins, and capillaries. These
blood vessels have the ability to expand to allow more blood to flow through them.
They can also contract to help control the flow of blood. The blood flows through the
big arteries into smaller ones. The smallest arteries, called arterioles, direct the blood
flow into the capillaries. The capillaries connect to the smallest veins called venules.
The Veins then return blood to the heart.


The capillaries are the smallest working unit in the blood vessels that connect the
arterioles to the venules. “The walls of the capillaries are only 1 cell thick this allows
for the exchange of nutrients and other substances like oxygen and carbon dioxide.”
Each of the cells in the walls of the capillaries have openings between them so that the
exchange can take place. The blood flow through the capillaries is regulated by a ring
of muscle, that contracts to control the flow of blood through the capillaries. This is
important because there would not be enough blood to fill all the blood vessels at one


“The blood volume in the body varies according to size of individual. The blood
accounts for about 7 percent of the body weight. The Blood is an intricate part of the
Circulatory System. It tries to keep the body in an equilibrium state. The body
systems are always changing the balance of the blood. Its major function is to
transport all the vital substances necessary to maintain bodily life processes.”


Each cell must receive oxygen and nutrients if cell life is to be maintained. The
oxygen and nutrients the cells use to carry out their functions produce waste that must
be removed. The blood also transports hormones from the different glands located
throughout the body. Another function is to help us keep immune from disease that
may enter the body. When you cut yourself your blood has the ability to clot. The
clotting process not only stops you from bleeding to death, but also helps the stopping
of infections

“Plasma makes up a little more than 50 percent of the blood. The composition of
blood is 90 percent water and 10 percent dissolved substance.” Plasma contains
thousands of different substances like proteins, glucose, salts, vitamins, hormones,
and antibodies. Plasma is what keeps the blood flowing.


Red Blood Cells:

The red blood cells are also known as erythrocytes. They are very flexible with the
ability to twist and bend through the blood vessels. “The red blood cells are only
1/25,000 of an inch in size.” (

A major function of the red blood cells is to carry oxygen to all the tissues from the
lungs. The red blood cells than transport the carbon dioxide from the cells because of
breaking down the nutrients

“The reason the erythrocytes are known as red blood cells is because of a substance
called hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is composed of simple protein and iron pigments and
when combined with oxygen their color becomes a bright scarlet.”

Red blood cells are made in the red bone marrow. In the adult the red blood cells can
be produced in the thoracic bones, vertebrae, cranial bone and ends of femur and
humerus bones. Red blood cells only live for approximately 120 days. “The blood
contains about 25 trillion red blood cells and has to replace them at about 3 million
per second.”

White Blood Cells

The white blood cells are also known as leukocytes. They defend the body against
bacteria and other enemies. The white blood cells are colourless. White blood cells
come in many varieties. Each fights the body enemies in a different way. Some white
blood cells produce antibodies, detoxify foreign substances, and digest bacteria.

“White blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow, lymphatic tissue, spleen,
lymph nodes, and thymus.” ( The white blood cells are less
numerous than the red blood cells and larger than red blood cells.

Platelets are also known as thrombocytes. They are small fragments of cells that
clump together and stick to inner surface of blood vessels to plug up leaks. The
platelets release a substance for clotting of blood. The platelets cause the injured site
to shrink and seal off. Platelets have a life span of 5 to 9 days.

The platelets are formed in the bone marrow. The number of platelets fall between the
number of white blood cells and red blood cells. “The number of platelets can be
between 250,000 and 350,000 in normal volume of blood.” (

The Cardiac cycle

“The cardiac cycle refers to the process of cardiac contraction and blood
transportation through the heart.’’ The heart can be viewed as two separate pumps to
serve its dual purpose, the cardiac cycle explains the sequence of events that take
place during one complete heart beat, this includes the filling of the heart with blood
and the emptying into the arterial system.

There are 4 stages to each heart beat;

1. Atrial diastole
2. Ventricular diastole
3. Atrial systole
4. Ventricular systole.

Each stage depends upon whether the chambers of the heart are filling with blood
whilst the heart relaxes (diastole) or whether they are emptying which occurs while
the heart contracts (systole).

Cardiac Output

‘’Cardiac output is the amount of blood that is pumped out of the heart from one
ventricle per minute.’’(

Cardiac output = Stroke volume x Heart rate.


Stroke volume-the amount of blood ejected in one beat. And has an average rate from
the number of heart beats per minute.