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Undertstand How Your Heart Works

Your heart is about the size of your clenched fist. It lies in the front and middle of your chest, behind and slightly to the left of your breastbone.

Your heart has the right and left separated by a wall. Each side has a small chamber called the 'atrium' (ay-tree-um), which leads into a large pumping chamber called a 'ventricle' (ven-tri-kl). There are four chambers

  • Left atrium
  • Left ventricle
  • Right atrium
  • Right ventricle

The right side of your heart collects blood on its return from the rest of your body. The blood entering the right side of your heart is low in oxygen. This is because oxygen is removed from your blood as it circulates through your body's organs and tissues. Your heart then pumps the blood to your lungs so it can receive more oxygen. Once it has received oxygen, your blood returns directly to the left side of your heart, which then pumps it out again to all parts of your body.

The left ventricle of your heart is larger and thicker than the right ventricle. This is because it has to pump the blood further around the body, and against higher pressure, compared with the right ventricle.

To make sure your blood flows in the correct direction, valves guard the entrance and exit's of your hearts chambers.

Risk Factor
It is important to understand
the risk factor that can vary
from person to person

Heart Facts
Small changes to your
heart can affect your
entire body.