The Human Heart as a Pump

  • G. E. Burch
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSA, volume 62)


The human heart is an unusual and efficiently designed pump. Its main function is to pump blood through the entire circulation to meet the hematologic requirements of all cells of the body. This pump is most unusual in that the source of energy for the pump is located in the walls of the pump itself. It also has an unusual circulatory system, a system which must function in an organ which shrinks and dilates many times a day as it pumps blood. The main vessels are located on the surface of the heart, and the smaller vessels which deliver the blood to the cells of the pump penetrate the wall, the source of power. These smaller vessels are so constructed that they can deliver blood to each cell even though the vessels are being firmly squeezed upon during systole and must function in the organ while it is continuously changing in size and shape during the cardiac cycle. The major volume of blood flow occurs during diastole when tissue pressure is lowest. With research and clinical experience the astute and master clinician and cardiologist can determine at the bedside the functional state of the cardiac pump with sufficient accuracy to provide diagnosis, treatment and prognosis.


Left Ventricle Stroke Volume American Heart Association Human Heart Aortic Valve Stenosis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. E. Burch
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of MedicineTulane University School of MedicineNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.Department of MedicineCharity Hospital of LouisianaNew OrleansUSA

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