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Heart Basics

Basic anatomy and function of the heart

The heart is a muscular organ that pumps blood to all the tissues in your body through a network of blood vessels. The right side of the heart pumps blood through the lungs where it picks up oxygen. The left side of the heart receives the blood containing oxygen and pumps the blood to the rest of your body

Your heart has four chambers and four valves that regulate blood flow:

Pulmonary valveControls the blood flow from the right ventricle through the pulmonary artery and into the lungs
Right atriumThe chamber that collects oxygen-poor blood returning from your body
Tricuspid valveControls blood flow from the right atrium into the right ventricle
Right ventricleThe chamber that pumps oxygen-poor blood through the pulmonary valve and into your lungs
SeptumA wall of muscle separating the left and right sides of the heart
AortaThe largest artery in the body. Carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to your body
Left atriumThe chamber that collects oxygen-rich blood returning from your lungs
Mitral valveControls the flow of oxygen-rich blood from your left atrium to your left ventricle
Aortic valveControls blood flow from your left ventricle to your aorta
Left ventricleThe largest and strongest chamber of your heart that pumps oxygen-rich blood through the aortic valve