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Physiology of the Heart

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Carmen Lobitz
Physiology of the Heart
This anterior view of the heart shows the four chambers, the major vessels and their early branches, as well as the valves. © OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology, CC BY 4.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0
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The heart lies in the center of the thoracic cavity, also called the mediastinum. It has four chambers, two atria (singular: atrium) and two ventricles. Blood flows through the heart.

Functional Heart Anatomy: How does the heart work in general?

The heart lies in the center of the thoracic cavity, also called the mediastinum. It has four chambers, two atria (singular: atrium) and two ventricles. Blood flows through the heart. Humans possess a venous circulation and an arterial circulation. This ensures that oxygenated blood coming from the lungs and deoxygenated blood from the body pass through the heart without mixing. However, which one runs through which side?

Via the venous circulation (veins are blood vessels transporting blood to the heart), the deoxygenated blood (venous blood) flows back from the body organs and muscles into the right atrium via the superior and inferior venae cavae. Passing the tricuspid valve, it runs into the right ventricle, and from there…

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