The Normal Heart
The size of a clenched fist, the heart is comprised of four chambers made of muscle and linked by valves that act as doorways.
Facets and functions
The heart chambers, blood vessels and electrical pathways work together to ensure the heart pumps an adequate amount of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body and carries away waste products. Trouble in any part of any of the heart’s components can disrupt the entire system and lead to problems elsewhere.
A cohesive system
For instance, a heart attack brought about by clogged vessels may kill a portion of heart muscle. Because that section of muscle may have housed key electrical signal components, the heart may begin to suffer from arrhythmia (heart rhythm disorder.)
Keeping the entire heart system healthy is, to a great extent, under individual control. Commonly prescribed advice to eat well, exercise, and avoid smoking, can go a long way in maintaining heart health. However, certain heart problems can appear despite the best efforts to stay healthy.
Thanks to decades of research, clinicians and patients can call on a host of medicines, procedures and interventions to minimize heart problems and restore the organ’s basic operation.