What’s Your Pulse?

In lab today we learned about how the heart works and what it really looks like. Our heart, also called the cardiac muscle or myocardium, is a special type of muscle that performs the repetitive task of pumping blood throughout our body. The right side of the heart receives blood that has come from the body and is depleted of oxygen. This blood is pumped to the lungs where it gets rid of carbon dioxide and picks up oxygen. The left side of the heart pumps the oxygenated blood received from the lungs through the aorta to the rest of the body. Your heartbeat is your heart contracting to pump blood.

The sheep heart we dissected is similar in structure and function to our heart, though smaller. After examining the outside of the sheep heart, we identified the major blood vessels that flow in and out. Once the major blood vessels were located and marked, we opened the sheep heart to view the four chambers and valves. We also found “heart strings” or chordae tendineae, which keep the heart together and beating properly.

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