When completing this chapter, the learner will be able to do the following:
- Identify the anatomy of the heart
- Describe the main functions of the heart
- Spell terms relating to the heart and use correct abbreviations
- Pronounce terms relating to the heart and use correct abbreviations
- Identify the medical specialties associated with the heart
- Explore common diseases, disorders, and procedures related to the heart
Introduction to the Heart
The heart is a fist-sized vital organ that has one job: to pump blood. If one assumes an average heart rate of 75 beats per minute, a human heart would beat approximately 108,000 times in one day, more than 39 million times in one year, and nearly 3 billion times during a 75-year lifespan. At rest, each of the major pumping chambers of the heart ejects approximately 70 mL of blood per contraction in an adult. This would be equal to 5.25 liters of blood per minute and approximately 14,000 liters per day. Over one year, that would equal 10,000,000 liters of blood sent through roughly 100,000 km of blood vessels. In order to understand how that happens, it is necessary to understand the anatomy and physiology of the heart.
Watch this video:
Media 8.1. The Heart, Part 1—Under Pressure: Crash Course A&P #25 [Online video]. Copyright 2015 by CrashCourse.