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Anatomy & Physiology
The heart is a muscular pump about the size of your fist and its primary function is to pump oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. It is made up of four chambers, the right and left atria on the top, and the right and left ventricles on the bottom. The septum is a thin muscular wall that separates the right and left sides of the heart. Each contraction of the heart occurs in response to an carcontrical impulse that starts in the upper portion of the heart. Blood is moved in a closed circuit through the body by the pumping of the heart. The heart contracts and pumps blood out to the body (systole) and relaxes to fill with more blood (diastole).

The heart muscle itself is like all other organs in the body and requires oxygen to function. The oxygen-rich blood is circulated to the heart muscle through the coronary arteries. There are two main arteries: the right coronary artery and the left main coronary artery, both starting at the aorta (the main blood vessel of the body). These vessels then branch off into smaller and smaller vessels along the surface of the heart.

In studying and testing the heart, it is important to understand which system in the heart is having problems:
  1. Electrophysiology - Is the conduction system (the wiring) in the heart following the normal pathway?


  2. Coronary circulation - Is the heart muscle getting adequate blood supply and oxygen through the coronary arteries (the plumbing)?


  3. Cardiac contractility - Is the pumping function of the heart muscle capable of circulating blood to the rest of the body?



Anatomy & Physiology Anatomy & Physiology
Cardiac Contractility Cardiac Contractility
Coronary Circulation Coronary Circulation
Electrophysiology Electrophysiology
Non-Invasive Cardiology Non-Invasive Cardiology
Pacemakers Pacemakers


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