heart is a muscular organ located slightly left behind the breastbone and acts
as the body’s circulatory pump. The heart pumps blood from the body, delivers
it to the lungs before pumping it back to the body and help transport oxygen
and various nutrients all over the body. The heart sits in the pericardial
cavity which is filled with fluid. The walls of this cavity have a membrane
lining called the pericardium which secretes a serous fluid that lubricates the
heart and prevents friction when the heart is pumping. The pericardium also
holds the heart in position and maintains a hollow space for the heart to
expand when it is full. The pericardium has two layers which are the visceral
layer that covers the outside of the heart and the parietal layer which forms a
sac the outside of the pericardial cavity. The wall of the heart has three
layers which are epicardium, myocardium, and endocardium layers. The epicardium
is also known as the pericardium and protects the heart while lubricating it.
Below this is the thicker myocardium layer which is responsible for helping the
heart pump blood. Endocardium follows which is thin lining in the heart and
helps the blood flow smoothly preventing it from clotting in the heart which
might be fatal. The thickness of this wall varies with the different parts of
the heart where the part that pumps blood to distant places in the body has a
thicker myocardium while the one that pumps around ventricle near has a thinner
myocardium. The heart has four chambers; right atrium, left atrium, right
ventricle and left ventricle. The atria are small due to their function which
is to receive blood from the body through a connection with veins and send it
to the heart while ventricles are large since they have thick myocardium which
allows them to pump blood from the heart to other parts of the body through a
connection with arteries. The right side of the heart is always smaller than
the left side due to their function. The right side pumps blood to the nearby
organs while the left side pumps blood to all other parts of the body, hence
the difference in the size of the myocardium. The heart has two kinds of
valves; an atrioventricular valve located between atria and ventricles and
allows blood to flow from atria to ventricles and semilunar valves located
between ventricles and arteries. The valves function as doors that allow
one-way passage of the blood and are well adapted to prevent backflow of blood(Taylor).
heart operates in two states which are the systole and the diastole. Systole is
the state in which cardiac muscles contracts in order to push blood out of the
chamber. Diastole is the state in which cardiac muscles relax to allow chambers
of the heart fill with blood. The cardiac cycle is all the things that happen during
the heartbeat. The cycle has three phases which include, the atrial systole,
ventricular systole, and the relaxation. Atrial phase is when atria contract
and push blood into the ventricles. The atrioventricular valves stay open to
allow entry of blood while semilunar valves remain closed to prevent blood from
getting back to the heart. Because the atria are small, they only fill 25% of
the ventricles. The ventricle at this phase is in diastole state. The next step
is ventricular systole where the ventricles contract pushing the blood to the
aorta and pulmonary trunk. The pressure felt here forces the semilunar valve to
open forcing the atrioventricular to close and allows blood to flow to the
arteries. The cardiac muscles of the arterial side automatically go to diastole
state in this phase. The next step is the relaxation phase where all chambers
of the heart are in relaxation state to allow blood flow into the heart from
the veins. During this phase the ventricles fill up to 75% and the next 25%
will only fill after the atria enter the systole phase. The atrioventricular
valves open while the semilunar valves close to prevent backflow of blood from
the arteries. Blood flows from the body to the heart through vena cava and
enters the atrium. From here it is pumped through the tricuspid valve into the
right ventricle. It is then pumped through pulmonary semilunar valve to the
pulmonary trunk where it is taken to the lungs to release carbon dioxide and
absorb oxygen. The blood then through pulmonary vein goes back to the heart to
the left atrium which the contracts to push blood through bicuspid to the left
ventricle. The blood is then pumped through the aorta semilunar valve to the
aorta where the blood proceeds to circulate throughout the body and then returns
to the heart through the vena cava and the cycle starts again (Taylor).
heart disease is a condition that happens after one is infected with rheumatic
fever. Rheumatic heart disease affects the mitral valve and the aortic valve
causing them to leak or become narrow over time. The affected heart's valves
might not be able to close properly and result to leak and in the long run low
blood supply. The symptoms of this disease usually manifest themselves after an
extended period of between 10 to 20 years. To prevent the disease from
happening proper treatment of rheumatic fever is required. Signs and symptoms
of rheumatic fever include fever, weight loss, rash, fatigue, joint swelling,
small bumps under the skin, stomach pain, and redness over many joints.
Rheumatic fever mostly affects children at the age of between 5 to 10 years but
can also affect people of any age ("Rheumatic Heart Disease | Seattle
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