Anatomy and Physiology of the Heart – Study Made Easy
Anatomy and physiology study is normally broken down into 12 sections, with each section representing one system of the body, for example, the endocrine system. When you begin revising, it is recommended that you take 1 system of the body and learn it on its own. Various body systems are similar in nature so learning them together might cause confusion. Take each area of your anatomy and physiology study and write out concise notes on that area. To give you an example and for the purpose of this article I will give you a brief overview of the heart and it’s role in blood circulation.
The heart is a hollow muscular organ, approximately the size of it’s owner’s fist. It is positioned in the center of the chest area, between the lungs and is divided into 4 chambers. The upper chambers are called the atria and the lower chambers are called the ventricles. The right and left sides of the heart are divided by a muscular wall called the septum, this prevents deoxygenated and oxygenated blood from mixing together.
If you can imagine the pipe system in your house providing water and heat to you on a daily basis, metaphorically speaking, the house is your heart and the pipes are the blood vessels that are found throughout our bodies. Blood is pumped from the heart around all parts of the body through a complex transport system consisting of arteries, veins and capillaries (blood vessels). The heart beats approximately 100,000 times every day in order to supply our cells with oxygen rich blood and pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood through it’s chambers on a daily basis.
Blood circulation follows a specific route and can be summed up as follows;
1. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the superior and inferior vena cava.
2. The blood is then pushed through the tricuspid valve down into the right ventricle. The tricuspid valve is a small flap that prevents the back flow of blood between the chambers on the right side.
3. Once the right ventricle fills up, the blood is then propelled into the pulmonary artery which then travels to the lungs where gaseous exchange occurs.
4. When the lungs remove the carbon dioxide, the deoxygenated blood becomes oxygenated and returns back to the heart via four pulmonary veins.
5. The blood enters the left atria via these pulmonary veins and is then pushed down into the left ventricle through the bicuspid valve. The bicuspid valve prevents the back flow of blood on the left side.
6. Once the left ventricle fills up it contracts, forcing the blood into the aorta which then branches to become the ascending aorta which supplies the upper body with oxygen rich blood and the descending aorta which supplies the lower body with oxygen rich blood.
7. Blood becomes deoxygenated once again and returns to the superior and inferior vena cava where the process begins again.
As I mentioned above, this just gives you a brief overview of the heart, it’s function and how it transports blood around the body. When you are carrying out any anatomy and physiology study, always make sure to summarize all areas as above. Using visual tools such as diagrams is a great way to spice up your notes. Even if you can’t draw like picasso, it doesn’t matter. To illustrate the heart you can draw a square shape or a circle and divide it equally into 4 chambers. It just gives you an idea of the layout of the heart and it has been proven that learning visually can be much more effective than just reading something over and over again.