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The heart is a muscular organ in all vertebrates responsible for pumping blood through the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions, or a similar structure in annelids, mollusks, and arthropods. The term cardiac as in cardiology means "related to the heart" and comes from the Greek καρδιά, kardia, for "heart."
The heart of a vertebrate is composed of cardiac muscle, an involuntary striated muscle tissue which is found only within this organ. The average human heart, beating at 72 beats per minute, will beat approximately 2.5 billion times during a lifetime about 66 years. It weighs on
250 g to 300 g females and 300 g to 350 g in males
The structure of the heart varies among the different branches of the animal kingdom. Cephalopods have two "gill hearts" and one "systemic heart". Fish have a two-chambered heart that pumps the blood to the gills and from there it goes on to the rest of the body. In amphibians and most reptiles, a double circulatory system is used, but the heart is not always completely separated into two pumps. Amphibians have a three-chambered heart.
Human heart removed from a 64-year-old male.
Surface anatomy of the heart. The heart is demarcated by:
-A point 9 cm to the left of the midsternal line (apex of the heart)
-The seventh right sternocostal articulation
-The upper border of the third right costal cartilage 1 cm from the right sternal line
-The lower border of the second left costal cartilage 2.5 cm from the left lateral sternal line
Birds and mammals show complete separation of the heart into two pumps, for a total of four heart chambers; it is thought that the four-chambered heart of birds evolved independently from that of mammals.
In the human body, the heart is usually situated in the middle of the thorax with the largest part of the heart slightly offset to the left , underneath the sternum. The heart is usually felt to be on the left side because the left heart (left ventricle) is stronger The left lung is smaller than the right lung because the heart occupies more of the left hemithorax. The heart is fed by the coronary circulation and enclosed by a sac known as the pericardium and is surrounded by the lungs. The pericardium comprises two parts: the fibrous pericardium, made of dense fibrous connective tissue; and a double membrane structure (parietal and visceral pericardium) containing a serous fluid to reduce friction during heart contractions. The heart is located in the mediastinum, the central subdivision of the thoracic cavity. The mediastinum also contains other structures, such as the esophagus and trachea, and is flanked on either side by the right and left pulmonary cavities, which house the lungs.
The apex is the blunt point situated in an inferior (pointing down and left) direction. A stethoscope can be placed directly over the apex so that the beats can be counted. It is located posterior to the 5th intercostal space just medial of the left mid-clavicular line. In normal adults, the mass of the heart is 250-350 g (9-12 oz), or about twice the size of a clenched fist (it is about the size of a clenched fist in children), but extremely diseased hearts can be up to 1000 g (2 lb) in mass due to hypertrophy. It consists of four chambers, the two upper atria and the two lower ventricles.