Home Faculty and Staff Hospitals and Offices Education / Fellowships Make an Appointment
Keck School of Medicine of USC - University of Southern California
Department of Surgery
Department links
Home Physicians Locations Education Society of Graduate Surgeons Contact Us Divisions and Institutes
CardioVascular Thoracic Institute
image map
Areas of Expertise Diseases & Treatments Clinical Trials Research News & Articles Videos Web Links
Patient Guides & Programs Visitor's Guide Forms & Downloads About CVTI Make a Gift Contact Us

Heart Surgery Patient Guide

About Your Heart

The heart is the organ responsible for pumping blood through the lungs and body, and is located in the chest cavity behind the breast bone, known as the sternum. The heart is divided into the right and the left side, with each side composed of an atrium and a ventricle. The right atrium receives the blood from the body after the body's organs have extracted the needed oxygen. The blood in the right atrium is pumped into the right ventricle, which then pumps the blood to the lungs.

In the lung, the CO 2 that is in the blood is removed and new oxygen is added. The blood then flows into the left atrium. The left atrium then pumps the newly oxygenated blood to the left ventricle, which then pumps this newly oxygenated blood back out to the body's organs.

The Heart, left atrium, mitral valve, left ventricle, aortic valve, right ventricle, tricuspid valve, right atrium, pulmonary valve, pulmonary artery, aorta.

The heart is controlled by the autonomic nervous system of the brain that tells the heart to speed up or slow down depending on the body's needs. The left heart is responsible for the blood pressure measurement you hear at the doctors office. The heart is a tireless pump. If you consider a resting heart rate of 70 beats per minute x 60 minutes per hour x 24 hours a day x 365 days per year, your heart, if you stayed at a resting heart rate of 70 would contract or "pump" over 36 million times per year!


Share this page:
Call us for an Appointment at (323) 442-5849
Patient Guides & Programs
Department of Surgery Home Divisions Physicians Locations Contact Us Education Society of Graduate Surgeons Keck School of Medicine of USC University of Southern California