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Physical Characteristics of the Heart

The heart is about the size of your fist and is located between your lungs behind the sternum. Most people believe the heart is located on the left side of the chest.

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System: Cardiovascular Location: Between your lungs Physical description:Grapefruit-sized and cone-shaped Function: To pump oxygen-rich blood throughout your body and oxygen-poor blood to your lungs

Cardiac muscle
Your heart is an incredibly powerful organ. It works constantly without ever pausing to rest. It is made of cardiac muscle, which only exists in the heart. Unlike other types of muscle, cardiac muscle never gets tired.

Four chambers
Your heart is divided into four hollow chambers. The upper two chambers are called atria. They are joined to two lower chambers called ventricles. These are the pumps of your heart. One-way valves between the chambers keep blood flowing through your heart in the right direction. As blood flows through a valve from one chamber into another the valve closes, preventing blood flowing backwards. As the valves snap shut, they make a thumping, 'heart beat' noise.

Double pump
Blood carries oxygen and many other substances around your body. Oxygen from your blood reacts with sugar in your cells to make energy. The waste product of this process, carbon dioxide, is carried away from your cells in your blood. Your heart is a single organ, but it acts as a double pump. The first pump carries oxygen-poor blood to your lungs, where it unloads carbon dioxide and picks up oxygen. It then delivers oxygen-rich blood back to your heart. The second pump delivers oxygen-rich blood to every part of your body. Blood needing more oxygen is sent back to the heart to begin the cycle again. In one day your heart transports all your blood around your body about 1000 times. Your right ventricle pumps blood to your lungs and your left ventricle pumps blood all around your body. The muscular walls of the left ventricle are thicker than those of the right ventricle, making it a much more powerful pump. For this reason, it is easiest to feel your heart beating on the left side of your chest.

Pacemaker
Unlike skeletal muscle cells that need to be stimulated by nerve impulses to contract, cardiac muscle cells can contract all by themselves. However, if left to their own devices, cardiac muscle cells in different areas of your heart would beat at different rates. Muscle cells in your ventricles would beat more slowly than those in your atria. Without some kind of unifying function, your heart would be an inefficient, uncoordinated pump. So, your heart has a tiny group of cells known as the sinoatrial node that is responsible for coordinating heart beat rate across your heart. It starts each heartbeat and sets the heartbeat pace for the whole heart.

Damage to the sinoatrial node can result in a slower heart rate. When this is a problem, an operation is often performed to install an artificial pacemaker, which takes over the role of the sinoatrial node.

Heart rate
Without nervous system control, your heart would beat around 100 times per minute. However, when you are relaxed, your parasympathetic nervous system sets a resting heart beat rate of about 70 beats per minute, (resting heart rate is usually between 72-80 beats per minute in women and 64-72 beats per minute in men). When you exercise or feel anxious your heart beats more quickly, increasing the flow of oxygenated blood to your muscles. This is triggered by your sympathetic nervous system. Your heart rate also increases in response to hormones like adrenalin. On average, your maximum heart rate is 220 beats per minute minus your age. So a 40 year old would have a maximum heart rate of 180 beats per minute.

Oxygen supply to your heart


Although your heart is continually filled with blood, this blood doesn't provide your heart with oxygen. The blood supply that provides oxygen and nutrients to your heart is provided by blood vessels that wrap around the outside of your heart.

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The heart of a frog has two atria as in mammals but only one ventricle, into which both atria drain. Otherwise both circulatory systems of a frog and mammal are the same. Because of the structure of the frog's heart: A The difference between the oxygen concentration in arterial blood and the oxygen concentration in venous blood would be the same in frogs and mammals B the difference between the carbon dioxide concentration in arterial blood and the carbon dioxide concentration in venous blood would be greater in frogs than mammals. C blood moving along the pulmonary arteries of a frog would be partly oxygenated, whereas blood in the pulmonary arteries of mammals is deoxygenated blood. D All oxygenated blood entering the frog's ventricle would come from the right atrium, as in mammals.

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First, the frog heart (amphibian) has a three chambered heart, two atria and one ventricle. The ventricle is not fully separated; it's partly separated by the conus arteriosus. The blood, however, stays mostly unmixed. The ventricles delivers oxygenated (efferent) blood to the systemic and pulmocutaneous arteries. The human heart has four chambers, and its two ventricle are fully separated. The fresh efferent blood from the lungs goes to the systemic aorta. Yes, the heart of a frog only has three chambers. Where a human heart has two upper chambers (the left and right atrium) and two lower chambers (the left and right ventricle), the heart of a frog only has a single ventricle. Oxygenated and deoxygenated blood are mixed because of the single ventricle. Both atria (plural for atrium) in a frog function like the atria in the human heart--one receiving oxygenated blood, the other receiving deoxygenated blood. Though rather than the right atrium pumping deoxygenated blood into the right ventricle, and the left atrium pumping oxygenated blood into the left ventricle like in the human heart, both atria empty into the one ventricle in the frog's heart.

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Frog is in a phylum Chordata same as human which means they are very close and have similar structures in terms of taxonomic classification and embryological development. One of the differences would be they differ in classes.. frog is a class Retilia and human is in class Mammalia. One similarity between circulatory system of frog and human is that they are both closed circulatory systems which means the blood does not diffuse into cells directly like the open circulatory systems does. In terms of heart structure, reptiles have only 3 chamberd heart, 2 atria and 1 ventricle, while mammals like human have 4 chamberd heart, 2 atria and 2 ventricle. (1) closed system (2) double circulation (pulmonary and systemic circulations) (3) hepatic portal system (passage of blood in the liver before going to the heart) (4) two atria

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As we come to the vertebrates, we begin to find real efficiencies with the closed system. Fish possess one of the simplest types of true heart. A fish's heart is a two-chambered organ composed of one atrium and one ventricle. The heart has muscular walls and a valve between its chambers. Blood is pumped from the heart to the gills, where it receives oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide. Blood then moves on to the organs of the body, where nutrients, gases, and wastes are exchanged. However, there is no division of the circulation between the respiratory organs and the rest of the body. That is, the blood travels in a circuit which takes blood from heart to gills to organs and back to the heart to start its circuitous journey again. Frogs have a three-chambered heart, consisting of two atria and a single ventricle. Blood leaving the ventricle passes into a forked aorta, where the blood has an equal opportunity to travel through a circuit of vessels leading to the lungs or a circuit leading to the other organs. Blood returning to the heart from the lungs passes into one atrium, while blood returning from the rest of the body passes into the other. Both atria empty into the single ventricle. While this makes sure that some blood always passes to the lungs and then back to the heart, the mixing of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood in the single ventricle means the organs are not getting blood saturated with oxygen. Still, for a cold-blooded creature like the frog, the system works well. Humans and all other mammals, as well as birds, have a four-chambered heart with two atria and two ventricles. Deoxygenated and oxygenated blood are not mixed. The four chambers ensure efficient and rapid movement of highly oxygenated blood to the organs of the body. This has helped in thermal regulation and in rapid, sustained muscle movements. In the next part of this chapter, thanks to the work of William Harvey, we will discuss our human heart and circulation, some of the medical problems that can occur, and how advances in modern medical care allow treatment of some of these problems.

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About the Heart and Circulatory System


The circulatory system is composed of the heart and blood vessels, including arteries, veins, and capillaries. Our bodies actually have two circulatory systems: The pulmonary circulation is a short loop from the heart to the lungs and back again, and the systemic circulation (the system we usually think

of as our circulatory system) sends blood from the heart to all the other parts of our bodies and back again. The heart is the key organ in the circulatory system. As a hollow, muscular pump, its main function is to propel blood throughout the body. It usually beats from 60 to 100 times per minute, but can go much faster when necessary. It beats about 100,000 times a day, more than 30 million times per year, and about 2.5 billion times in a 70-year lifetime.

The heart gets messages from the body that tell it when to pump more or less blood depending on an individual's needs. When we're sleeping, it pumps just enough to provide for the lower amounts of oxygen needed by our bodies at rest. When we're exercising or frightened, the heart pumps faster to increase the delivery of oxygen.

The heart has four chambers that are enclosed by thick, muscular walls. It lies between the lungs and just to the left of the middle of the chest cavity. The bottom part of the heart is divided into two chambers called the right and left ventricles, which pump blood out of the heart. A wall called the interventricular septum divides the ventricles.

The upper part of the heart is made up of the other two chambers of the heart, the right and left atria. The right and left atria receive the blood entering the heart. A wall called the interatrial septum divides the right and left atria, which are separated from the ventricles by the atrioventricular valves. The tricuspid valve separates the right atrium from the right ventricle, and the mitral valve separates the left atrium and the left ventricle.

Two other cardiac valves separate the ventricles and the large blood vessels that carry blood leaving the heart. These are the pulmonic valve, which separates the right ventricle from the pulmonary artery leading to the lungs, and the aortic valve, which separates the left ventricle from the aorta, the body's largest blood vessel.

Arteries carry blood away from the heart. They are the thickest blood vessels, with muscular walls that contract to keep the blood moving away from the heart and through the body. In the systemic circulation, oxygen-rich blood is pumped from the heart into the aorta. This huge artery curves up and back from the left ventricle, then heads down in front of the spinal column into the abdomen. Two coronary arteries branch off at the beginning of the aorta and divide into a network of smaller arteries that provide oxygen and nourishment to the muscles of the heart.

Unlike the aorta, the body's other main artery, the pulmonary artery, carries oxygen-poor blood. From the right ventricle, the pulmonary artery divides into right and left branches, on the way to the lungs where blood picks up oxygen.

Arterial walls have three layers:

1. The endothelium is on the inside and provides a smooth lining for blood to flow over as it moves through the artery. 2. The media is the middle part of the artery, made up of a layer of muscle and elastic tissue. 3. The adventitia is the tough covering that protects the outside of the artery. As they get farther from the heart, the arteries branch out into arterioles, which are smaller and less elastic.

Veins carry blood back to the heart. They're not as muscular as arteries, but they contain valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. Veins have the same three layers that arteries do, but are thinner and less flexible. The two largest veins are the superior and inferior vena cavae. The terms superior and inferior don't mean that one vein is better than the other, but that they're located above and below the heart.

A network of tiny capillaries connects the arteries and veins. Though tiny, the capillaries are one of the most important parts of the circulatory system because it's through them that nutrients and oxygen are delivered to the cells. In addition, waste products such as carbon dioxide are also removed by the capillaries.

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Circulatory system The human circulatory system is responsible for delivering food, oxygen, and other needed substances to all cells in all parts of the body while taking away waste products. The circulatory system is also known as the cardiovascular system, from the Greek word kardia, meaning "heart," and the Latin vasculum, meaning "small vessel." The basic components of the cardiovascular system are the heart, the blood vessels, and the blood. As blood circulates around the body, it picks up oxygen from the lungs, nutrients from the small intestine, and hormones from the endocrine glands, and delivers these to the cells. Blood then picks up carbon dioxide and cellular wastes from cells and delivers these to the lungs and kidneys, where they are excreted. The human heart The adult heart is a hollow cone-shaped muscular organ located in the center of the chest cavity. The lower tip of the heart tilts toward the left. The heart is about the size of a clenched fist and weighs approximately 10.5 ounces (300 grams). A heart beats more than 100,000 times a day and close to 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime. The pericardiuma triple-layered sacsurrounds, protects, and

anchors the heart. Pericardial fluid located in the space between two of the layers reduces friction when the heart moves. The heart is divided into four chambers. A septum or partition divides it into a left and right side. Each side is further divided into an upper and lower chamber. The upper chambers, the atria (singular atrium), are thin-walled. They receive blood entering the heart and pump it to the ventricles, the lower heart chambers. The walls of the ventricles are thicker and contain more cardiac muscle than the walls of the atria. This enables the ventricles to pump blood out to the lungs and the rest of the body. The left and right sides of the heart function as two separate pumps. The right atrium receives blood carrying carbon dioxide from the body through a major vein, the vena cava, and delivers it to the right ventricle. The right ventricle, in turn, pumps the blood to the lungs via the pulmonary artery. The left atrium receives the oxygen-rich blood from the lungs from the pulmonary veins, and delivers it to the left ventricle. The left ventricle then pumps it into the aorta, the major artery that leads to all parts of the body. The wall of the left ventricle is thicker than the wall of the right ventricle, making it a more powerful pump, able to push blood through its longer trip around the body. One-way valves in the heart keep blood flowing in the right direction and prevent backflow. The valves open and close in response to pressure changes in the heart. Atrioventricular valves are located between the atria and ventricles. Semilunar valves lie between the ventricles and the major arteries into which they pump blood. People with a heart murmur have a defective heart valve that allows the backflow of blood.

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