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The Cardiac System

Student Learning Objectives:

• Describe the structures of the heart

The heart can be found at the center of the chest, underneath the sternum in a thoracic
compartment. There are two chambers found in the heart that is Atria and Ventricles. Atria is
in the upper chamber of the heart and the lower chamber is ventricles. The left atria and left
ventricle are separated from the right atria and right ventricle by a wall of muscle called the
septum. The valves that separate Atria and Ventricles are called atrioventricular valves which
is composed of the tricuspid valve on the left and the mitral valve on the right. the ventricular
chambers are also separated by valves. Collectively-termed as semilunar valves, these are
comprised of the pulmonary and aortic valve.
The wall of the heart consists of three layers of tissue:
Epicardium — protective layer mostly made of connective tissue.
Myocardium — the muscles of the heart.
Endocardium — lines the inside of the heart and protects the valves and chambers.

The pericardium is the layer after the epicardium

• Describe coronary circulation, and explain its purpose.

Coronary circulation is the circulation of blood in the blood vessels that supply the heart
muscle (myocardium). Coronary arteries supply oxygenated blood to the heart muscle, and
cardiac veins drain away the blood once it has been deoxygenated. Heart need oxygen to
function well to pump blood to the brain and to the rest of the body.

• Describe pulmonary circulation, and explain its purpose

The pulmonary circulation is the portion of the circulatory system which
carries deoxygenated blood away from the right ventricle, to the lungs, and returns
oxygenated blood to the left atrium and ventricle of the heart. The purpose is to throw away
carbon dioxide in the lungs and absorb oxygen from the lungs to give it to the rest of the
Describe the cardiac cycle.
The cardiac cycle is the sequence of events that occurs in one complete beat of the heart. The
pumping phase of the cycle, also known systole, occurs when heart muscle contracts. The filling
phase, which is known as diastole, occurs when heart muscle relaxes. At the beginning of the
cardiac cycle, both atria and ventricles are in diastole. During this time, all the chambers of the
heart are relaxed and receive blood. The atrioventricular valves are open. Atrial systole follows
this phase. During atrial systole, the left and right atria contract at the same time and push blood
into the left and right ventricles, respectively. The next phase is ventricular systole. During
ventricular systole, the left and right ventricles contract at the same time and pump blood into the
aorta and pulmonary trunk, respectively. In ventricular systole, the atria are relaxed and receive
blood. The atrioventricular valves close immediately after ventricular systole begins to stop
blood going back into the atria. However, the semilunar valves are open during this phase to
allow the blood to flow into the aorta and pulmonary trunk. Following this phase, the ventricles
relax that is ventricular diastole occurs. The semilunar valves close to stop the blood from
flowing back into the ventricles from the aorta and pulmonary trunk. The atria and ventricles
once again are in diastole together and the cycle begins again.

Explain how heart sounds are created.

The sound of a heartbeat is caused by the heart valves opening and closing as they pump blood.
The sound is usually described as “lubb-dupp”. The “lubb” also known as the first heart sound, is
caused by the closure of the atrioventricular valves. The “dupp” sound is due to the closure of the
semilunar valves when the ventricles relax.

Describe of the cardiac conduction pathway

The cardiac conduction system is a group of specialized cardiac muscle cells in the walls of the
heart that send signals to the heart muscle causing it to contract. The main components of the
cardiac conduction system are the SA node, AV node, bundle of His, bundle branches, and
Purkinje fibers. The SA node (anatomical pacemaker) starts the sequence by causing the atrial
muscles to contract. From there, the signal travels to the AV node, through the bundle of His,
down the bundle branches, and through the Purkinje fibers, causing the ventricles to contract.
Explain stroke volume, cardiac output
Stroke volume: The amount of blood pumped by the left ventricle of the heart in one contraction.

Cardiac output: The amount of blood the heart pumps through the circulatory system in a
minute. The stroke volume and the heart rate determine the cardiac output.

Describe systemic circulation, and explain its purpose

Systemic circulation is blood is pumped from the left ventricle of the heart through the aorta and
arterial branches to the arterioles and through capillaries where it reaches an equilibrium with the
tissue fluid, and it then drains through the venules into the veins and returns, via the vena cava,
to the right atrium of the heart. Its purpose is to supply nutrients and oxygen to the tissue and
remove any waste product from the tissue.

Explain the mechanism of blood pressure regulation