In most animals, the heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood via the circulatory system’s blood arteries. The pumping blood transports oxygen and nutrients to the body, as well as metabolic waste like carbon dioxide, to the lungs. The heart in humans is about the size of a closed fist and is placed in the middle compartment of the chest, between the lungs.
The heart is split into four chambers in humans, other animals, and birds: upper left and right atria, and bottom left and right ventricles. The right atrium and ventricle are commonly referred to as the right heart, whereas its left counterparts are referred to as the left heart. Reptiles, on the other hand, have three chambers, including an atrium and a ventricle.
Due to cardiac valves that prevent backflow, blood flows one direction through a healthy heart. The pericardium, a protective sac that also contains a tiny quantity of fluid, surrounds the heart. Epicardium, myocardium, and endocardium are the three layers that make up the heart’s wall.
A collection of pacemaking cells in the sinoatrial node regulates the heart’s pumping rhythm. These create a current that travels via the atrioventricular node and along the heart’s conduction system, causing the heart to contract. The right atrium gets low-oxygen blood from the systemic circulation, which enters through the superior and inferior venae cavae and flows to the right ventricle.
It is then pushed into the pulmonary circulation, where it gets oxygen and emits carbon dioxide through the lungs. The oxygenated blood then returns to the left atrium, flows through the left ventricle, and is pushed into the systemic circulation through the aorta, where it is utilized and converted into carbon dioxide. The resting rate of the heart is around 72 beats per minute. Exercise temporarily raises the rate, but in the long run, it reduces the resting heart rate, which is beneficial to heart health.
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