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Healthy Heart

Clip Number: 2 of 34
Presentation: CABG With Aortic Balloon Pump
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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Before we discuss your procedure, it is important for you to understand how a healthy heart works.
The heart is a hollow muscular organ about the size of a fist. It is surrounded by a thin layer of tissue called the pericardium, or "heart sac". The heart's primary job is to pump blood throughout the body.
Because the heart is a muscle, it needs blood to function properly, which it gets from the coronary arteries. These arteries wrap around the outside of the heart, supplying oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the heart muscle.
The inside of a normal heart is divided into 4 chambers:
Right Atrium
Left Atrium
Right Ventricle
Left Ventricle
Blood, in need of oxygen, flows in from the body and enters the Right Atrium. From the Right Atrium blood is squeezed into the Right Ventricle through one of the heart's valves.
Heart valves keep blood flowing in a one-way direction by opening to let the proper amount of blood flow through and then closing to prevent backflow.
From the Right Ventricle blood is pumped through another valve and then into the lungs, where it receives oxygen. Flowing back to the heart into the Left Atrium, the blood is then squeezed into the Left Ventricle through the mitral valve. From there, the oxygen rich blood is pumped through the aortic valve and into the aorta, where it flows to the rest of the body.
Pumping "real time," the inside of the heart would look like this.

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