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How does the heart work?

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How does the heart work? The heart is a fist-sized muscular organ that pumps blood around the body. It is actually two pumps that are joined together. At the top of each side of the heart is a thin-walled chamber called the atrium. It receives blood that returns to the heart through the veins.

Once the atrium is filled, it contracts and squeezes its blood into a much more muscular chamber called the ventricle.The ventricle contracts in turn and forces blood at high pressure along the arteries and off to the lungs or the rest of the body.

A system of oneway valves stops the blood from leaking back into the heart.The left side of the heart pumps blood around the body, while the slightly smaller right side pumps blood to the lungs to collect more oxygen.The blood circulation actually works in a figure-of-eigh t shape.

The heart consists of a pair of similar pumps. On each side of the heart, blood returning along veins collects in the atrium, then is pumped out along arteries from the muscular ventricle.

A network of blood vessels runs throughout the body. Arteries carry blood away from the heart and veins return the blood to the heart.

What are blood vessels?

Blood flows around your body inside a network of tubes called blood vessels. There are three types of blood vessel: arteries, veins and capillaries. The blood in arteries comes straight from the heart and is pumped under pressure, so the artery walls are thick and muscular. Blood moves from arteries to veins through tiny capillaries, which are about one-tenth the thickness of a human hair. Capillaries are so narrow that red blood cells have to squash themselves up to pass through. Veins return blood to the heart, and because the pressure is now lower, they have thinner walls than arteries.

Tags: blood, pumps, arteries

Category: Education  - ( Education Archive)

Date Added: 21 December '11

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