The word “ cardia” or “cardio” is often associated with the heart as it comes from the Greek word “kardia” which means heart. This could be related to the word, “cardiology” which involves the study of the heart. The heart is known to be a very important muscular structure that serves to be the central organ of the circulatory system. Its main function includes pumping blood throughout the body to supply different parts of the body with enough oxygen through the blood required for its normal function.
Basic Structure Of The Heart
The heart as a muscular organ is primarily made of muscles which are specialized to be parts of the heart. These muscles that comprise the heart are known as the cardiac muscles. These muscles are described to be striated and involuntary. The cardiac muscle being striated means that these muscles are actually arranged in a somehow lined fashion. While the cardiac muscle, being involuntary, means that it does not require any initiation from the body for it to function. It means that it automatically performs its function without waiting for any stimulation or dictation from the person or the body. Because the heart’s function in keeping the body working is very much integral, it should definitely work involuntarily.Credit: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v451/n7181/fig_tab/nature06801_F2.html
Early Development Of The Heart
The heart actually arises from the mesoderm cells where the myocardium or the heart muscle primarily originates. Different cells from the mesoderm form respective parts of the heart, from its outer lining or the pericardium to that of the chambers of the heart. These will lead to the formation of tissues that will eventually form and fuse as one organ at about 21 days of embryonic development. This is also the time when the heart actually starts to beat or function as a whole.
The In-Depth Heart Structure
The heart is often associated to be shaped like that of the fist. It has a mass of about 250 to 350 grams and it is located in the mediastinum specifically in the anterior or frontal part of the vertebral column and at the posterior or back part of the sternum. Knowing the exact location of the heart is very significant when it comes to being able to monitor its functioning, one of the ways to do such involves determining the number of beats it has every minute.
The heart is strategically located at the central point of the chest. It is covered and protected by double layers of sacs known as the pericardium. This will truly ensure that the heart is not easily affected by external forms of pressure that might easily disrupt its normal functioning. The superficial or the external part of the sac is known to be the fibrous pericardium. The said sac, aside from providing protection, also serves to prevent the heart from excessive filling with blood.Credit: http://gleesonbiology.pbworks.com/w/page/7537914/O1
The Layers Of The Heart
The heart as a muscle is actually made up of three different layers which are known as the epicardium, the myocardium and the endocardium. The epicardium is known to be the outermost layer of the heart. It is also known as the visceral pericardium because aside from being a main layer of the heart, it also serves to be a part of the pericardium or the protective covering of the heart. The myocardium is known to be the core of the layers of the heart and is found at the middle. Myocardium is primarily the muscles that make up the entire heart. The last layer of the heart is known as the endocardium which is the innermost layer of the heart. This layer is the one that has the closest contact with the circulating elements in the heart known as the blood.Credit: http://paramedicine101.blogspot.com/2009/08/basic-cardiology-part-i.html
The Chambers Of The Heart
The heart is not just a simple enclosed organ because it is actually made up of different chambers which are the main areas where the blood components circulate. These four chambers are known to be the two atria located on the superior part of the heart and the two ventricles which can be found at the lower or inferior part. The two atria are known to be the receiving chambers of the blood coming from different parts of the body. The two ventricles are actually the discharging chambers responsible for releasing the blood to the different parts of the body.Credit: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Circulation_of_Blood_Through_the_Heart.jpg
Blood Circulation In The Heart
There are actually two pathway systems that are involved in the circulation of blood participated by the blood. These two pathways are known to be the systemic pathway and the pulmonary pathway. The systemic pathway involves the passage of the blood from the heart to be supplied to the different parts of the body. On the other hand, the pulmonary pathway involves the passage of blood from the different parts of the body to be pumped to the lungs for it to be oxygenated. Deoxygenated blood passes through the heart by means of only one direction which involves the passage through the superior vena cava and eventually going into right atrium of the heart. After that, blood will be pumped into the tricuspid valve tehn eventually down towards the right ventricle. Then, the blood will be pumped through the pulmonary valve then right to the arteries and ending up in the lungs where blood will be oxygenated. After being oxygenated in the lungs, the blood will eventually pass through the pulmonary veins then going back to the left atrium of the heart. It will then be pumped towards the mitral valve then eventually to the left ventricle and aorta. From the aorta, the oxygenated blood will be pumped to the different parts of the body.
These are just some of the important details about the heart. Aside from the brain, the heart is definitely considered to be one of those few main or core organs of the body mainly responsible for keeping the entire body functioning. This goes to show that the heart is truly one indispensable organ that must be taken care of very well to ensure a long life.
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