Function of the heart

The function of the heart is to maintain a constant circulation of blood throughout the body. The heart acts as a pump and its action consists of a series of events known as the cardiac cycle.

The cardiac cycle

The cardiac cycle is the sequence of events between one heartbeat and the next and is normally less than a second in duration.

Superior vena cava

Pulmonary vein

Inferior vena cava

Superior vena cava

Pulmonary vein

Inferior vena cava

Atria fill with blood

Aorta

Aortic valve

Atria contract and ventricles fill with blood

Atria fill with blood

Tricuspid valve

Tricuspid valve

Atria contract and ventricles fill with blood

Mitral valve

Mitral valve

Aorta

Aortic valve

Ventricles contract and blood is pumped to lungs and around body

Ventricles contract and blood is pumped to lungs and around body

Ventricles relax and cycle starts again

Fig 5.10 The cardiac cycle

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