May 17, 2012 By Antranik 1 Comment Constantly use the three pictures below to help you orient yourself with the following description of the blood flow. Chordae tendineae are extensions of connective tissue from those valves and we have these tiny muscles that pull on those cords that keep them nice and taut called the papillary muscles. Freshly oxygenated blood is going to come in from the left atrium, from the left and right pulmonary veins. Reference to picture below and previous ones: Of course the heart is muscle and it needs its own oxygen supply.
Just to add a little dimension to this, if you cut off the blood supply to the heart, as in if you perhaps cut off one of these AV branches and a blood clot occurred in the coronary artery, so everything distal to that is not going to receive any more blood, then those cells are going to die. Both atria are going to fill at the same time and contract at the same time to fill both ventricles.
This was kind of a rare thing… and I happen to be Armenian, so I was intrigued and had to throw this into my article.
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If you look inside the right atrium, you could see a big blue blood vessel that opens up into it from the top and another that approaches from the bottom.
The blood falls down with gravity from the right atrium and into this particular passage way, down into this right ventricle. The right atrium receives blood from both of these inferior and superior vena cava’s (vein=towards the heart, cava=big). This is bigger than the right atrium and has a thicker muscle wall because the right ventricle does stronger pumping.
Then there’s the inner lining called the trebeculae carneae which are muscles but much more irregular that aid in contracting. That blood is going to fall with gravity, and the mitral (bicuspid) valve is going to allow blood to dump into the left ventricle. When this ventricle does contract, it pushes blood up in the only direction it could go out into the pulmonary trunk.
You could see it has the thickest wall of cardiac muscle because the left ventricle has to pump the hardest to pump that bolus of blood into the rest of the body. If you build up enough cholesterol and it builds up in the lumen and cuts off oxygen, you get a heart attack.
When they close, these cusps actually bang against each other and the cusps hit each other and that’s the sound of the heart beat.
This atrioventricular valve is so called because it’s between the atrium and ventricle. We’ll also have those same cords (chordae tendineae) anchoring that mitral valve and the same papillary muscles and muscular ridges (trabeculae carneae) lining the inside.

The right coronary artery on the left side sort of defines the division between the atria and ventricles.
The one on the right happens to have 3 cusps to it so it’s called a tricuspid valve (or right atrioventricular valve).
When this left ventricle contracts, blood is going to be passed through another semilunar valve, but this time it’s going into the aorta.
We’re also going to have a left coronary artery but this is going to split very quickly before it wraps completely between the atrium and ventricle and the continuation of it is called the circumflex artery.
For a very well trained athlete even 60bpm is normal at rest because their heart is stronger, they need to pump less often to do the same work.
Inside the pulmonary trunk, before that split, blood passes by a valve that’s called a pulmonary semilunar valve (half moon, because someone thought it looks like that).
The aortic arch is the arch it forms just before it dips down behind the heart, pumping through the diaphragm (because the heart is sitting on top of the diaphragm) and enters the abdomen where it branches countless times. Of course because the heart does a lot of work it consumes a lot of oxygen and needs carbon dioxide to drain so it has its veins as well that run alongside the same pathways as the arteries. Once the blood goes to the lungs and dumps off the CO2, it goes back in the heart and now it has to go to the rest of the body and we’re going to pump it very, very strongly into the rest of the body.

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