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Structure of the Heart; Function of the Heart; Diseases of the Heart ; History of Heart Research; Hearts in Other Animals

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Essay title: Structure of the Heart; Function of the Heart; Diseases of the Heart ; History of Heart Research; Hearts in Other Animals

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Introduction; Structure of the Heart; Function of the Heart; Diseases of the Heart ; History of Heart Research; Hearts in Other Animals

I

Introduction

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Heart, in anatomy, hollow muscular organ that pumps blood through the body. The heart, blood, and blood vessels make up the circulatory system, which is responsible for distributing oxygen and nutrients to the body and carrying away carbon dioxide and other waste products. The heart is the circulatory system’s power supply. It must beat ceaselessly because the body’s tissues—especially the brain and the heart itself—depend on a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients delivered by the flowing blood. If the heart stops pumping blood for more than a few minutes, death will result.

The human heart is shaped like an upside-down pear and is located slightly to the left of center inside the chest cavity. About the size of a closed fist, the heart is made primarily of muscle tissue that contracts rhythmically to propel blood to all parts of the body. This rhythmic contraction begins in the developing embryo about three weeks after conception and continues throughout an individual’s life. The muscle rests only for a fraction of a second between beats. Over a typical life span of 76 years, the heart will beat nearly 2.8 billion times and move 169 million liters (179 million quarts) of blood.

Since prehistoric times people have had a sense of the heart’s vital importance. Cave paintings from 20,000 years ago depict a stylized heart inside the outline of hunted animals such as bison and elephant. The ancient Greeks believed the heart was the seat of intelligence. Others believed the heart to be the source of the soul or of the emotions—an idea that persists in popular culture and various verbal expressions, such as heartbreak, to the present day.

II

Structure of the Heart

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The human heart has four chambers. The upper two chambers, the right and left atria, are receiving chambers for blood. The atria are sometimes known as auricles. They collect blood that pours in from veins, blood vessels that return blood to the heart. The heart’s lower two chambers, the right and left ventricles, are the powerful pumping chambers. The ventricles propel blood into arteries, blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart.

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"Structure of the Heart; Function of the Heart; Diseases of the Heart ; History of Heart Research; Hearts in Other Animals." EssaysForStudent.com. 11, 2009. Accessed 11, 2009. https://www.essaysforstudent.com/essays/Structure-of-the-Heart-Function-of-the-Heart/13355.html.