A Beginner’s Guide to Heart Anatomy

The heart is the symbol of love, affection, and intimacy for many. However, not everyone knows much about actual heart anatomy.

What is the difference between a valve and a chamber? What are the major arteries and veins?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, then this is article is for you.

Heart Chambers

The heart is divided into four main parts called chambers. These four chambers are divided into two groups:

  1. The Atriums are located within the upper part of the heart. There is one is on the right side, and the other is on the left side. Oxygenated blood is pumped through the left atrium into the body. Once the blood has deposited oxygen to other parts of the body, it is pumped into the right atrium of the heart where it is recycled.
  2. The Ventricles are on the bottom of the heart and often considered its main chambers which collect blood from the left atrium and expels it toward the lungs.

Heart Valves

Blood flows through the heart in one direction from one chamber to the next through a series of valves. These valves consist of tissue that is about as thick as a piece of paper. Like the heart chambers, there are four heart valves between each of the chambers.

Anatomy of Heart Valves

Major Arteries and Veins

Arteries bring oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Veins, on the other hand, return deoxygenated blood to the heart. There are many major veins and arteries within the body. Several major arteries and veins include:

  • The pulmonary artery which transports blood with low levels of oxygen and high levels of carbon dioxide to the lungs. No other artery carries oxygen-poor blood
  • The aorta is the largest artery which is connected to the heart’s left ventricle in a network of smaller arteries that run throughout the body
  • The hepatic vein which carries blood away from the liver
  • The carotid Artery which supplies blood to the face, head, and brain
  • The vena cava includes two main veins
    • The inferior vena which carries blood from the lower body to the heart
    • The superior vena cava which carries blood from the head, arms, and upper body to the heart

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