About Your Heart

Anatomy of the Heart

The heart is at the core of all bodily function - the organ responsible for supplying blood and oxygen throughout the body and sustaining life.

Separated into two halves and then into four chambers (left and right atrium, left and right ventricle), the heart is located in the chest cavity and surrounded by the pericardium, a fluid filled sac. The heart, combined with the circulatory system, make up the Cardiovascular System.

Cardiac muscle enables the heart to contract and synchronize a heart beat. The heart wall is divided into three layers: the epicardium (outer protective layer), myocardium (muscular middle layer), and endocardium (inner layer of the heart that melds with the inner lining of blood vessels).

Areas of the Cardiovascular System

  • Atria- upper two chambers
  • Ventricle- lower two chambers
  • Epicardium - the outer layer of the wall of the heart Myocardium - the muscular middle layer of the wall of the heart
  • Endocardium- the inner layer of the heart
  • The cardiac conduction - the rate at which the heart conducts electrical impulses
  • The cardiac cycle - the sequence of events that takes place when the heart beats.
  • Diastole Phase - the heart ventricles are relaxed and the heart fills with blood .
  • Systole Phase - the ventricles contract and pump blood to the arteries.
  • Heart Valves - flap-like structures that allow the blood to flow in one direction.
  • Aortic Valve - prevents the back flow of blood as it is pumped from the left ventricle to the aorta.
  • Mitral Valve - prevents the back flow of blood as it is pumped from the left atrium to the left ventricle.
  • Pulmonary Valve - prevents the back flow of blood as it is pumped from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery.
  • Triscupid Valve - prevents the back flow of blood as it is pumped from the right atrium to the right ventricle.
  • Venae Cavae - the two largest veins in the body.
  • Superior Vena Cavae - Brings de-oxygenated blood from the head, neck, arm and chest regions of the body to the right atrium.
  • Inferior Vena Cava: Brings de-oxygenated blood from the lower body regions (legs, back, abdomen and pelvis) to the right atrium.

Among some of the common cardiovascular problems we see include Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Arrhythmias, and heart failure.