The heart is the heart of the body. It ensures that blood and oxygen is pumped throughout the body. Despite being a little bit larger than a grapefruit, it is one of the most important parts of the body. It weighs eight to twelve ounces depending of the person’s gender (Lewis, 2016). When deoxygenated blood is pumped into the right ventricle of the heart from the body, it is then moved into the pulmonary artery which pumps the blood to the lungs. Inside the lungs, the blood becomes filled with oxygen. This oxygen rich blood is pumped to the left atrium through the pulmonary vein. The blood then moves through the left ventricle and then the aorta where it leaves the heart and is distributed throughout the body, thanks to the arteries and veins, ensuring that the tissues it feeds remain healthy. If the heart didn’t do this function all the tissues in the body will die. These tissues need the oxygen to survive and the blood also carbon dioxide as well as other wastes from the tissues. If the heart suddenly stopped pumping blood, this is called “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” (Texas Heart Institute, n.d.). This occurs three hundred thousand times a year, and when it does ninety five percent of the victims die within minutes. Typically, when this occurs, the patient will faint and stop breathing. The heart will need to be restarted to ensure for no loss of life. The heart is conveniently located in the chest, behind the ribs. Usually it in on the patients left side, however in rare situations, as usually seen on TV or movies, the heart can be on the other side of the chest. In the rest of this essay I will be reviewing the tissue types found in the heart and why the heart requires special tissues, cell types found only in the heart and how the heart needs the cells to function properly, and why the heart requires multiple different cell types to fulfill the roles required of it.
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The heart is a very complicated and unique organ. Because the role it plays in the functionality of the body is so unique and important, the heart is split up into several different parts. Each part has its role and its own unique tissues found in it. For example, the Endocardium which is the inner layer of the heart, it contains several blood vessels, it covers the heart valves and is found lining the atria and ventricles (Hill, 2019). The Endocardium has 3 sublayers. The first layer is the Endothelium which is made up of simple squamous epithelium. The next layer is smooth muscle and connective tissue. Finally, the third layer is Subendocardial Layer, which connects the myocardium to endocardium. Next, we have Myocardium, which is the muscular portion of the heart, found in the middle. It is made up of cardiac muscles, connective tissues, and capillaries. Another part of the heart is the Epicardium. The Epicardium is the outer layer of the heart. On one hand it connects the heart to the breast bone and creates a protective sac around the heart. It also fibrous connective tissues connecting it to the heart. The Sarcomere is what we see when we see the heart pump. It is made up of cardiac and skeletal muscles. There is also Purkinje Fibers which contain special cardiac muscle cells, which are different than any other cardiac muscle cells. Unlike normal cardiac cells, they are thicker, have large amounts of glycogen, and less myofibrils. Purkinje Fibers start at atrioventricular node and extend under the endocardium.
The standard cardiac cell found in the heart is called cardiomyocytes (Beck, 2019). A Myocyte is a muscle cell, and cardio means the heart. The cardiac muscle cell organelles are like those found in other mammals, however the humans can withstand a lot more stress than any other animals. The cells them selves are long and cylindrical. The proteins found in the cardiac muscle cells must groups of proteins that lie next to each other. They are made up of thin and thick filaments. When they overlap, they create a muscle contraction. The cardiomyocyte inside the myocardium are different then the cells found in skeletal muscles because they branch out rather than remain in straight lines, they have much more connective tissues, where skeletal muscles utilize bones, ligaments, and cartilage more so, the nuclei is found in the middle of the cell, and they allow for multiple contractions in various parts of the heart at once. Without these unique traits of cardiomyocytes, the heart cannot perform the duties that’s required of it, and the patient will die because of it.
In this essay, we learned about cardiomyocytes and their various functions and duties that differ than the typical muscle cell, also we learned about the various tissues found only in the heart and why the heart requires such unique tissues, and finally we learned the basics about where the heart is located, what it looks like, and what it does. The heart is essential to the function of the body. Simply, a human cannot survive without the heart. And the heart cannot function without its unique tissues and cells the each have their own functions the ensure the heart does what it needs to do. If one of those tissues or cells doesn’t do what it needs to do, the heart will stop working. The uniqueness and the complications of the heart is what makes it so interesting to learn about.
- Beck, Kevin. (2019, April 29). Structure of the Heart Cell. Retrieved from https://sciencing.com/structure-heart-cell-5827452.html
- Hill, Mark. (2019) Cardiovascular System – Heart Histology. Retrieved from https://embryology.med.unsw.edu.au/embryology/index.php/Cardiovascular_System_-_Heart_Histology
- Lewis, Tanya. (2016, March 22). Human Heart: Anatomy, Function & Facts. Retrieved from https://www.livescience.com/34655-human-heart.html
- Texas Heart Institute. (N.D.) Sudden Cardiac Arrest. Retrieved from https://www.texasheart.org/heart-health/heart-information-center/topics/sudden-cardiac-arrest/
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