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Anatomy and Physiology


The Anatomy of the Heart

Your heart is located under the ribcage in the center of your chest between your right and
left lung. Its shaped like an upside-down pear. Its muscular walls beat, or contract, pumping blood
continuously to all parts of your body.

The size of your heart can vary depending on your age, size, or the condition of your heart.
A normal, healthy, adult heart most often is the size of an average clenched adult fist. Some
diseases of the heart can cause it to become larger.
The Exterior of the Heart

Below is a picture of the outside of a normal, healthy, human heart.

The illustration shows the front surface of the heart, including the coronary arteries and
major blood vessels.

The heart is the muscle in the lower half of the picture. The heart has four chambers. The
right and left atria (AY-tree-uh) are shown in purple. The right and left ventricles (VEN-trih-kuls)
are shown in red.

Connected to the heart are some of the main blood vesselsarteries and veinsthat make
up your blood circulatory system.

The ventricle on the right side of your heart pumps blood from the heart to your lungs.
When you breathe air in, oxygen passes from your lungs through blood vessels where its added
to your blood. Carbon dioxide, a waste product, is passed from your blood through blood vessels
to your lungs and is removed from your body when you breathe air out.
The atrium on the left side of your heart receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs. The
pumping action of your left ventricle sends this oxygen-rich blood through the aorta (a main artery)
to the rest of your body.

The Right Side of Your Heart

The superior and inferior vena cavae are in blue to the left of the muscle as you look at the
picture. These veins are the largest veins in your body. They carry used (oxygen-poor) blood to
the right atrium of your heart. Used blood has had its oxygen removed and used by your bodys
organs and tissues. The superior vena cava carries used blood from the upper parts of your body,
including your head, chest, arms, and neck. The inferior vena cava carries used blood from the
lower parts of your body.

The used blood from the vena cavae flows into your hearts right atrium and then on to the
right ventricle. From the right ventricle, the used blood is pumped through the pulmonary (PULL-
mun-ary) arteries (in blue in the center of picture) to your lungs. Here, through many small, thin
blood vessels called capillaries, your blood picks up oxygen needed by all the areas of your body.

The oxygen-rich blood passes from your lungs back to your heart through the pulmonary
veins (in red to the left of the right atrium in the picture).

The Left Side of Your Heart

Oxygen-rich blood from your lungs passes through the pulmonary veins (in red to the right
of the left atrium in the picture). It enters the left atrium and is pumped into the left ventricle. From
the left ventricle, your blood is pumped to the rest of your body through the aorta.

Like all of your organs, your heart needs blood rich with oxygen. This oxygen is supplied
through the coronary arteries as its pumped out of your hearts left ventricle. Your coronary
arteries are located on your hearts surface at the beginning of the aorta. Your coronary arteries
(shown in red in the drawing) carry oxygen-rich blood to all parts of your heart.
Heart Interior

The illustration shows a cross-section of a healthy heart and its inside structures. The blue
arrow shows the direction in which low-oxygen blood flows from the body to the lungs. The red
arrow shows the direction in which oxygen-rich blood flows from the lungs to the rest of the

The Septum

The right and left sides of your heart are divided by an internal wall of tissue called the
septum. The area of the septum that divides the two upper chambers (atria) of your heart is called
the atrial or interatrial septum. The area of the septum that divides the two lower chambers
(ventricles) of your heart is called the ventricular or interventricular septum.

Heart Chambers
The picture shows the inside of your heart and how its divided into four chambers. The
two upper chambers of your heart are called atria. The atria receive and collect blood. The two
lower chambers of your heart are called ventricles. The ventricles pump blood out of your heart
into the circulatory system to other parts of your body.

Heart Valves

The picture shows your hearts four valves. Shown counterclockwise in the picture, the
valves include the aortic (ay-OR-tik) valve, the tricuspid (tri-CUSS-pid) valve, the pulmonary
valve, and the mitral (MI-trul) valve.

Blood Flow

The arrows in the drawing show the direction that blood flows through your heart. The
light blue arrows show that blood enters the right atrium of your heart from the superior and
inferior vena cavae. From the right atrium, blood is pumped into the right ventricle. From the right
ventricle, blood is pumped to your lungs through the pulmonary arteries.

The light red arrows show the oxygen-rich blood coming in from your lungs through the
pulmonary veins into your hearts left atrium. From the left atrium, the blood is pumped into the
left ventricle, where its pumped to the rest of your body through the aorta.

For the heart to function properly, your blood flows in only one direction. Your hearts
valves make this possible. Both of your hearts ventricles has an in (inlet) valve from the atria
and an out (outlet) valve leading to your arteries. Healthy valves open and close in very exact
coordination with the pumping action of your hearts atria and ventricles. Each valve has a set of
flaps called leaflets or cusps, which seal or open the valves. This allows pumped blood to pass
through the chambers and into your arteries without backing up or flowing backward.
The nervous system is a network of specialized nerve cells that conduct impulses from or
to areas of the body to the brain and spinal cord and within the brain. It is composed of neurons
and other specialized cells, like glial cells and neuroglia, that aid in the function of the neurons.
Nerve cells are interconnected in complex arrangements and use electrochemical signals to
transmit impulses between cells, they respond to a great variety of stimuli and form neural circuits
that regulate an organisms perception and behavior. Nervous systems are found in many
multicellular animals but differ greatly in complexity between species.\ he human nervous system
can be grouped into both with gross anatomy, (which describes the parts that are large enough to
be seen with the naked eye,) and microanatomy, (which describes the system at a cellular level.)
At gross anatomy, the nervous system can be grouped in distinct organs, these being actually
stations which the neural pathways cross through. Thus, with a didactical purpose, these organs,
according to their ubication, can be divided in two parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and
the peripheral nervous system (PNS).[2]

Central nervous system

The central nervous system (CNS) represents the largest part of the nervous system,
including the brain and the spinal cord. The CNS is contained within the dorsal cavity, with the
brain within the cranial cavity, and the spinal cord in the spinal cavity. The CNS is covered by the
meninges. The brain is also protected by the skull, and the spinal cord is also protected by the
vertebrae. The nervous system can be connected into many systems that can function together. The
two systems are central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS).

Peripheral nervous system

The PNS consists of all the other nervous structures that do not lie in the CNS. The large majority
of what are commonly called nerves (which are actually axonal processes of nerve cells) are
considered to be PNS.


The nervous system is, on a small scale, primarily made up of neurons. However, glial cells also
play a major role.

Neurons are electrically excitable cells in the nervous system that process and transmit
information. Neurons are the core components of the brain, the vertebrate spinal cord, the
invertebrate ventral nerve cord, and the peripheral nerves. A number of different types of neurons
exist: sensory neurons respond to touch, sound, light and numerous other stimuli effecting sensory
organs and send signals to the spinal cord and brain, motor neurons receive signals from the brain
and spinal cord and cause muscle contractions and effect glands, Interneurons connect neurons to
other neurons with in the brain and spinal cord.

Glial cells

Glial cells are non-neuronal cells that provide support and nutrition, maintain homeostasis, form
myelin, and participate in signal transmission in the nervous system. In the human brain, glia are
estimated to outnumber neurons by about 10 to 1.

Glial cells provide support and protection for neurons. They are thus known as the "glue" of the
nervous system. The four main functions of glial cells are to surround neurons and hold them in
place, to supply nutrients and oxygen to neurons, to insulate one neuron from another, and to
destroy pathogens and remove dead neurons.

Physiological division

A less anatomical but much more functional division of the human nervous system is that
classifying it according to the role that the different neural pathways play, regardless whether these
cross through the CNS or the PNS:

The somatic nervous system is responsible for coordinating the body's movements, and also for
receiving external stimuli. It is the system that regulates activities that are under conscious control.

Of digestion, it regulates from the esophagus to the stomach, small intestine and colon.

In turn, these pathways can be divided according to the direction in which they conduct stimuli:

Afferent system by sensory neurons, which carry impulses from a receptor to the CNS
Efferent system by motor neurons, which carry impulses from the CNS to an effector
Relay system by relay neurons (also called interneurons), which transmit impulses between
the sensory and motor neurones.

However, there are relay neurons in the CNS as well.

The junction between two neurones is called a synapse. There is a very narrow gap (about 20nm
in width) between the neurons - the synaptic cleft, where an action potential is transmitted from
one neuron to a neighboring one. They do this by relaying the message with the use of
neurotransmitters which the next neuron then receives the electrical signal, known as a nerve
impulse. The nerve impulse is determined by the neurotransmitter to then carry the message to its
appropriate destination. These nerve impulses are a change in ion balance in the nerve cell, which
the central nervous system can then interpret. The fact that the nervous system uses a mixture of
electrical and chemical signals makes it incredibly fast, which is necessary to acknowledge the
presence of danger. For example, a hand touching a hot stove. If the nervous system was only
comprised of chemical signals, the body would not tell the arm to move fast enough to escape
dangerous burns. So the speed of the nervous system is a necessity for life.


Some landmarks of embryonic neural development include the birth and differentiation of neurons
from stem cell precursors, the migration of immature neurons from their birthplaces in the embryo
to their final positions, outgrowth of axons from neurons and guidance of the motile growth cone
through the embryo towards postsynaptic partners, the generation of synapses between these axons
and their postsynaptic partners, and finally the lifelong changes in synapses which are thought to
underlie learning and memory.


Many people have lost basic motor skills and other skills because of spinal cord injuries. If this
portion is damaged, the biggest nerve and the most important one get damaged. This leads to
paralysis or other permanent damage.

The nervous system is able to make basic motor skills and other skills possible. The basic 5 senses
of texture, taste, sight, smell, and hearing are powered by the nervous system. If disabled, basic
motor skills may be lost.

Blood flow

Superior and Right Tricuspi Right Pulmonary semi Pulmonary Pulmonary

inferior vena atrium d valve ventricle lunar valve trunk arteries

Lung tissue
Body tissue (pulmonary
(systemic circulation)

Left Bicuspid Left Pulmonar

Aorta Aortic
ventricle valve atrium y vein
valve e