What are the four main functions of the heart? Common heart diseases


What is the structure of the human heart?

The heart is located below the rib cage slightly to the left of the center of the chest between the lungs and above the diaphragm. A healthy adult heart is approximately the size of a closed fist. Valves and heart chambers work together to pump oxygen-rich blood to nourish the body and return oxygen-poor blood to the lungs. In the lungs, carbon dioxide is exchanged for oxygen.

The heart is a muscular organ located in the chest just behind and slightly to the left of the breastbone. It measures approximately the size of a closed fist. The heart is running all the time, pumping blood through a network of blood vessels called arteries and veins. The heart and its blood vessels are called the cardiovascular system.

The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers are called atria, while the two lower chambers are called ventricles. The right atrium and the right ventricle are called the right heart, while the left atrium and the left ventricle are called the left heart. The different chambers of the heart are separated by partitions, each of which is called a septum.

  • The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the body and pumps it to the right ventricle.
  • The right ventricle receives blood from the right atrium and pumps it to the lungs to charge it with oxygen.
  • The left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the left ventricle.
  • The left ventricle is the strongest chamber in the heart. It pumps oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body.

Blood flow to the heart, to the heart chambers and from the heart is monitored by the four valves in the heart. The heart receives its nutrients and oxygen through the coronary arteries that line the surface of the heart. It is also richly supplied by a network of nerve tissue that facilitates the heartbeat. The heart is enclosed in a sac filled with fluid called the pericardium. The pericardium is a protective covering that produces fluid, lubricates the heart and prevents friction between the heart and surrounding organs.

What are the four main functions of the heart?

The four main functions of the heart are:

  • Pumping oxygenated blood to other parts of the body.
  • Pumping hormones and other vital substances to different parts of the body.
  • Receiving deoxygenated blood and transporting metabolic waste products from the body and pumping it to the lungs for oxygenation.
  • Maintenance of blood pressure.

What are the medical conditions related to the heart?

Some of the common heart conditions are:

  • Coronary heart disease (CAD): The narrowing of the arteries that supply the heart (coronary arteries). If the arteries become blocked completely from a suddenly deposited blood clot, the disease is called a heart attack.
  • Stable angina pectoris: Chest pain due to insufficient blood supply to the heart following strenuous physical activity. The reason is due to the narrowing of the coronary arteries which are unable to supply sufficient oxygen-rich blood to the heart during exertion. Usually there is relief from symptoms at rest.
  • Unstable angina pectoris: Chest pain or discomfort is new onset, gets worse, or even occurs at rest. Unstable angina is an emergency because it can precede a heart attack, a serious abnormal heart rhythm, or cardiac arrest.
  • Myocardial infarction (MI or heart attack): When a coronary artery is suddenly blocked, some heart muscles die because they lack oxygen.
  • Arrhythmia (dysrhythmia): Ann abnormal heart rhythm, which may interfere with the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF): In CHF, the heart is unable to efficiently pump blood to body tissues. The term congestive heart failure refers to the collection of fluid due to a failed heart.
  • Cardiomyopathy: A disease of the heart muscles, which makes the heart unusually large, thick and / or stiff. As a result, it weakens the heart’s ability to pump blood.
  • Myocarditis: Inflammation of the heart muscles.
  • Pericarditis: Inflammation of a heart cover (pericardium).
  • Pericardial effusion: In this medical condition, there is a collection of fluid between the covering of the heart (pericardium) and the heart itself.
  • Heart valve diseases: Diseases that affect the valves that direct blood flow to the heart.
  • Heart attack: Sudden cessation of heart function.


In the United States, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease.
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Medical examination on 09/14/2021

The references

Medscape Medical Reference