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Role and function of the heart

The coronary arteries: the left coronary artery divided into to large branches called the left anterior descending artery and the circumflex artery.

The heart is a muscle which pumps oxygenated blood to our organs, which is vital. It beats an average of 60 to 80 times a minute, during which time it ejects 5 to 6 litres of blood into circulation.

The heart needs to be continuously provided with energy because as opposed to other muscles, it never stops contracting. The supply of oxygen, therefore, has to be constant regardless of conditions. During an effort or a strong emotion, it will beat faster in order to supply increased quantities of oxygen to your body. However, under these conditions, the heart will have an increased need of oxygen as well. The harder and faster your heart beats, the more oxygen it requires.

This oxygen supply is provided by a network of blood vessels which form a crown around the heart, hence their name: the coronary arteries. There are 2 main ones, namely left and right. Just like branches of a tree, they are larger at their origin and end with small ramifications. When the heart pumps oxygenated blood to the body, a small proportion is sent uniquely to itself so that it can benefit from the indispensable oxygen.

Last modified on 08/04/2009