Our heart is one of the hardest working organs in the body. It goes non-stop, pumping blood throughout your body and through all of the blood vessels. When you have a healthy heart, it makes it easier to have better overall health.
The heart is located in the chest area of the body and because it is so vital it is protected by the ribs of your rib cage.
- The heart is considered to be a muscle.
- Scientists and doctors that specialize in the study of the human heart and all of the disorders that are associated with it are known to study ‘cardiology’.
- The heart consists of four different chambers: the left atrium, the right atrium, the left ventricle and the right ventricle.
- There are four critical valves in the human heart. They make sure that the blood only goes one way, the way it’s supposed to go and does not back up or go in the wrong direction.
Blood leaves the heart and then goes through the arteries. The aorta is the main artery that exits the left ventricle while the pulmonary artery is the main artery that leaves the right ventricle.
Blood that is heading towards the heart is carried through our veins and the type of veins depends upon where it’s coming from. Blood that is exiting the lungs to the left atrium travels through the pulmonary veins. Blood that is coming from your body to the right atrium travels through the superior vena cava and inferior vena cava.
The cardiac cycle is the process of your heart contracting, which makes the chambers of the heart smaller and then pushes the blood into the vessels. Once your heart relaxes the chambers get bigger and fill back up with blood that’s coming into the heart.
Believe it or not, you have electricity that goes through the heart that makes the muscle cells contract for the cardiac cycle.
- You may have watched television shows where the doctors have a patient that has had a heart attack and they use an ECG (electrocardiogram) machine to revive them. This is actually a small jolt of electricity to jump start the heart.
- The electronic signal from an ECG machine lets the doctors know how the heart is doing. It registers the electric pulse as a ‘blip’ and then relaxes when the heart relaxes.
- Since the muscle is a heart, it acts like any muscle. In normal use, it remains strong and healthy. However, for people that have certain heart problems, the heart has to work harder. Like any other kind of muscle, this makes the heart enlarged.
Pigs have heart valves that are so close to human valves that they use them to replace faulty heart valves in humans.
If a pig valve can’t be used in open heart surgery to replace a valve, there are manmade valves called ‘mitral valves’. They look like a small open circle with a small circular tab in the center. People that have had valve replacements with mitral valves can often hear the ‘clicking’ of the center circle.
During some open heart surgeries, doctors actually use cold water to stop the heart so that they can perform the surgery. All of the blood of the patient is being circulated through outside technology machines that maintain the health of the blood. They use an ECG machine to restart the heart after the surgery is done.
People that experience heart attacks actually end up with scar tissue on the heart. This can cause later problems or even other heart attacks.