Blood flows from the body into the top right chamber of the heart, called the atrium, and then into the right lower chamber, or ventricle, which pumps the blood into the lungs. This animation follows the flow of blood throughout the heart.
H Charles. Campbell, MD
Specialty: Thoracic Surgery
- thoracic surgery
- vascular surgery
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How does blood get pumped from the heart into the lungs?
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
Why do our hearts have four chambers?
Michael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answeredAs the heart develops in the unborn child, it takes on several distinct appearances, each resembling other animal hearts and each a step higher on the evolutionary ladder. At first, the tube-like heart is much like a fish heart. When it divides into two chambers, it is similar to a frog heart; with three chambers, a snake or turtle heart. Finally, with four chambers, the fully formed heart looks like what it is: the heart of a human being, the most highly evolved mammal.
The four-chambered heart has a distinct advantage over simpler structures: It allows us to send our "dirty" blood to the cleaners-the lungs-and our "clean" blood to the rest of the body without having to mix the two. That system is very efficient. The blood coming from the left side of the heart is pure, fully oxygenated, and ready to fuel the muscles. A fish heart, on the other hand, has to pump blood, which is only half as pure, to the body because it doesn't have separate chambers that enable it to clean the blood in one cycle and distribute it in the next.
Our sophisticated ticker allows us to process energy more efficiently and, therefore, move further from our energy source. We can do lots of work in between looking for food, while a fish has to live in its energy source, eating all the time.
Find out more about this book:YOU: The Owner's Manual, Updated and Expanded Edition: An Insider's Guide to the Body that Will Make You Healthier and Younger
Are there lung cancer rate differences based on gender?
The Society of Thoracic Surgeons answeredLung cancer in women is a different disease than lung cancer in men. Some studies show that women are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of tobacco smoke.
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