How your heart works
Your heart is located under the ribcage in the center of your chest between your right and left lungs.A normal, healthy, adult heart is about the size of an average fist:
Your heart is a muscle that pumps blood to the rest of your body. Your heart is part of your circulatory system, which consists of a network of arteries, veins, and capillaries that carry blood to and from all areas of your body. Electrical signals force your heart to contract and thus pump your blood to the rest of your body.
Your blood carries the oxygen and nutrients that your organs need to work normally. Blood also carries waste products such as carbon dioxide back to your heart and into your lungs to be passed out of your body and into the air. If disease or injury weakens your heart (your pump), your body’s organs won’t receive enough blood to work normally.
The heart has four chambers: The right and left atria and the right and left ventricles. The right side of your heart gets venous blood back from your body and then pumps it to your lungs. When you breathe in, oxygen passes from your lungs into your blood. Carbon dioxide, a waste product, is passed from the venous blood to your lungs and removed from your body when you breathe out.
The left atrium receives oxygen-rich blood from your lungs. The pumping action of your left ventricle sends this oxygen-rich blood to the rest of your body:
- Vena Cava
- Right Atrium
- Right Ventricle
- Main Pulmonary Artery
- Left & Right Pulmonary arteries
- Left & Right Pulmonary veins
- Left Atrium
- Left Ventricle
- Blood flow to the rest of your body
This animation shows how blood flows to and from your heart: