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How Your Heart Works

Your heart is a pumping muscle that works nonstop to keep your body supplied with oxygen-rich blood. Signals from the heart’s electrical system set the speed and pattern of the pump’s rhythm. Valves keep the blood moving in one direction, through the heart’s four chambers.

Front view of heart, great vessels, and coronary arteries. Coronary arteries are on surface of heart. Aorta is large artery exiting top of heart. Pulmonary artery is large artery exiting top of heart that branches to left and right. Right coronary artery comes from base of aorta down right side of heart. Left main coronary artery comes from base of aorta, goes behind pulmonary artery, and branches into circumflex and left anterior descending coronary arteries.

The aorta carries oxygen-rich blood to the body.

The right coronary artery supplies blood to the bottom, right side, and back of the heart muscle.

The pulmonary artery pumps blood to the lungs.

The left coronary artery supplies blood to the front, left side, and back of the heart muscle. It has three parts:

  1. Circumflex coronary artery

  2. Left main coronary artery

  3. Left anterior descending coronary artery

 

Front view of heart showing atria on top and ventricles on bottom with valves between chambers. Mitral valve is between left atrium and left ventricle. Aortic valve is between left ventricle and aorta, large artery exiting heart at top. Tricuspid valve is between right atrium and right ventricle. Pulmonic valve is between right ventricle and pulmonary artery, which branches to lungs. Electrical system is made up of two nodes in right atrium and nerves in wall between ventricles which  curve into ventricle walls.

 

The right atrium receives blood from the body.

The tricuspid valve prevents blood from returning to the atrium.

The right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs for oxygen.

The heart’s electrical system is made up of nodes and pathways.

The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs.

The mitral valve prevents blood from returning to the atrium.

The left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body.

The aortic valve prevents blood from returning to the ventricle.

The pulmonic valve prevents blood from returning to the ventricle.

 

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 1/15/2007
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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