Encyclopedia of Heart Diseases

2011 Edition
| Editors: M. Gabriel Khan

Anatomy of the Heart

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-60761-219-3_7


In the human embryo, the unique little  heart begins to beat as early as day 22 (  Embryology). The adult human heart is a small pump that has a mass of only 200–400 g and is a highly efficient converter of chemical energy to mechanical energy (Taegtmeyer 2004). The heart uses more energy, in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), than any other organ. More than 6 kg of ATP is hydrolyzed by the heart daily (Ingwall 2002) for pumping 5 l of blood/min, 7,200 l/day, and over 2.6 million liters/year (Kumar et al. 2005). The  myocardium is as strong or stronger than the powerful thigh muscles, the quadriceps. Yet, this powerful organ that utilizes more than 6 kg ATP and pumps more than 2.6 million liters of blood/year is supplied by only three rather small arteries that have the diameter of a soda straw.
  • Importantly, all arteries in the body are maintained filled by the heart during its systolic contraction and also during its noncontractile filling phase,  diastole.

  • The  coronar...

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