The Cardiovascular System – The Ventricles
By: Alere Staff
The human heart is a pump which is composed of four cavities or chambers which are connected by valves. The two lower chambers are called the left and right ventricles. They receive blood from the two upper chambers, the atria, through these valves. Whereas the atria receive blood from the entire body back into the heart, the ventricles’ role is to pump the blood out to the body. Because greater force is required to pump the blood out to all the organs and limbs, the walls of the ventricles are considerably thicker than the walls of the atria.
The right ventricle is responsible for getting blood to the lungs where it becomes freshly oxygenated and ready to provide essential nourishment throughout the body. This oxygen-rich blood returns from the lungs to the left side of the heart and is forcefully pumped by the “work horse” left ventricle.
From the left ventricle, it travels through the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel in the body, out through miles of other vessels, sustaining millions of cells. With the left ventricle being larger and stronger and pumping more powerfully than the right ventricle, the heartbeat is felt more strongly toward the left side of the chest.
Just as the heart is responsible for continuously feeding the entire body, it also must feed itself. The muscles that make up the walls of the ventricles are fed by the coronary arteries. These arteries branch off the aorta right at the point where the left ventricle and aorta meet and are crucial to equipping the heart muscle with the oxygen and other nutrients necessary for it to ceaselessly work and sustain life. Taking care of one’s heart is unquestionably fundamentally important to overall health and vitality.
Interested in learning more? Here are some related articles:
- The Cardiovascular System: Your Heart
- The Cardiovascular System: Heart Valves
- The Cardiovascular System: The Atria
- The Cardiovascular System: The Arteries
- The Cardiovascular System: Veins
- Your Pulse and Your INR
- National Heart Month – Three Cases of a Broken Heart
- Mechanical Heart Valve
- Health Conditions
- Bailey, Regina. 2015. Ventricles of the Heart. About Education. Retrieved from: http://biology.about.com/od/anatomy/ss/ventricles.htm
- National Geographic Society. Heart. 2015. http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-body/heart-article.