The 13 parts of the human heart (and its functions)

One of the earliest developing organs and together with the brain one of the most important for our survival is the heart.

This organ, the main core of the cardiovascular system, allows blood to circulate and irrigate the various organs of our body. But the heart is not a uniform mass, but is made up of different elements. In this article, we will talk about the different parts of the heart.

The heart as the core of the cardiovascular system

The heart is the main organ of the cardiovascular system. It is an organ made up of hollow muscle tissue whose contractions and dilations cause blood to be pumped to the rest of the body. Its contraction or systole is the movement by which blood is allowed to come out and be propelled through the arteries, while diastole or dilation allows blood to enter them through the veins.

Pumping blood brings nutrients and oxygen obtained from other bodily functions such as respiration and digestion to the various organs of our body, as well as to be freed from the wastes of its functioning (as with the carbon dioxide, which travels to the heart to later go to the lungs and excrete it with the breath).

Although it may seem simple how it works, the truth is that its beating involves the coordination of the movement of the heart muscle and the proper functioning of its different parts. Its importance is such that the cessation of its functions leads to our death (unless artificial mechanisms are used to perform its same function).

Although the heart is connected and influenced by the nervous system, it actually acts largely autonomously.

Parts of the heart and their functions

The human heart is made up of different parts whose coordinated action allows blood to be pumped. It is well known that we can find four chambers inside the heart: two atria and two ventricles.

But it should also be borne in mind that there are other elements such as the valves that communicate with each other and allow both blood to pass and not to come back or the partitions that separate them. In general we can find the following parts of the heart.

1. Left atrium

One of the four main chambers of the heart that blood is received and pumped into. The left atrium is characterized by its connection to the pulmonary veins, from which it receives highly oxygenated blood and then sends it to the left ventricle.

2. Mitral valve

One of the parts of the heart, separates and communicates the left atrium to the left ventricle. Its opening (generated by the systole of the atrium) makes the blood travel between the two regions.

3. Left ventricle

Another important part of the heart. The left ventricle it receives oxygen-rich blood from the left atrium and sends it to the rest of the body through the aortic artery.

4. Aortic sigmoid valve

This valve separates the aorta from the left ventricle and it allows blood containing oxygen to reach the rest of the body through the artery before it opens. It opens in the face of contraction or systole and closes in the face of dilation / relaxation or diastole.

5. Right atrium

The right atrium it receives blood from the vena cava, already deoxygenated blood, to send it to the right ventricle.

6. Tricuspid valve

Located between the right atrium and the ventricle, the tricuspid valve separates the two cavities and allows through its opening that blood passes between them. It also prevents blood from flowing back when closed (which happens when the ventricle contracts).

7. Right ventricle

This part of the heart receives blood from the right atrium and then sends it to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries. the the blood is re-oxygenated and then returned to the heart through the pulmonary veins.

8. Pulmonary sigmoid valve

It is a valve that separates the right ventricle from the pulmonary arteries. Contraction of the ventricle causes it to open, allowing blood to pass through the respiratory system.

9. Interatrial septum

It is the muscular wall which separates the two atria.

10. Interventricular septum

Muscle wall that separates the left ventricle from the right ventricle.

11. The sinus or sinoatrial nodule

This element at the top of the right atrium may not be particularly well known, but it is one of the most important parts of the heart because they allow it to function.

And this is it this nodule is the structure that allows the heart to generally receive electrical impulses that cause it to contract (Similar to how neurons work, the heart beats because this element generates action potentials based on the chemical balance between sodium and potassium). Its functioning is regulated by the autonomic nervous system, although it can function on its own.

12. Aschoff-Tawara atrioventricular nodule

This nodule is another part of the heart function allowing the heart rhythm. It directs and helps coordinate the electrical impulse initiated in the sinus node. It allows the ventricles not to contract until the blood in the atria passes to them.

13. Its bundles and fibers of Purkinje

These are the elements by which the electrical impulse initiated in the previous modules is transferred through the whole heart, For example allowing the discharge to reach the ventricles.

Arteries and veins

Although not properly part of the heart, the following veins and arteries are the ones that maintain direct contact with it.

1. Pulmonary veins

These are the veins that carry blood from the lungs to the heart, being its content rich in oxygen (this is the only type of vein with abundant oxygen content).

2. Aortic artery

This artery carries oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.

3. Cavas veins

The vena cava are the blood vessels that reintroduce the deoxygenated blood that has flowed throughout the body back into the heart.

4. Pulmonary arteries

These are the blood vessels that will carry oxygen-free blood to the lungs for oxygenation. It is the only type of artery that carries blood without nutrients and oxygen.

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