How The Heart Works
The heart is a muscular organ that acts like a pump to send blood throughout the body all the time.
It has four chambers – two on the left side and two on the right. The two upper chambers are called the atria, and the two lower chambers are called the ventricles.
The two sides of the heart are divided by a muscular wall called the septum. Each side of the heart has a ‘one-way valve system’, which means that the blood travels in one direction through the heart – a bit like a one-way system.
The heart is at the centre of the circulatory system, which delivers blood to all areas of the body. An electrical system regulates the heart and uses electrical signals to contract the heart’s walls. When the walls contract, blood is pumped into the circulatory system.
The circulatory system is made up of a network of blood vessels, such as arteries, veins, and capillaries. The vessels in this network carry blood to and from all areas of the body.
A system of inlet and outlet valves in the heart’s chambers works to ensure that blood flows in the right direction.
The heart is vital to the health and nearly everything that goes on in the body. Without the heart’s pumping action, blood can’t circulate within the body.
The blood carries the oxygen and nutrients that all organs need to function normally. Blood also carries carbon dioxide, a waste product, to the lungs to be passed out of the body and into the air.
A healthy heart supplies the areas of the body with the right amount of blood at the right rate needed to function normally. If disease or injury weakens the heart, the body’s organs won’t receive enough blood to function normally.
Anatomy of the heart
The heart is located under the ribcage in the centre of the chest between the right and left lung. It’s shaped like an upside-down pear.
The size of the heart can vary depending on the age, size, or the condition of the heart. A normal, healthy, adult heart most often is the size of an average clenched adult fist. Some diseases of the heart can cause it to become larger.
The Exterior of the heart:
Below is a picture of the outside of a normal, healthy, human heart.