WELCOME TO THE ARTERIOVENOUS MALFORMATION (AVM) COMMUNITY: This Patient-To-Patient Community is for discussions relating to Arteriovenous Malformations, which are defects of the circulatory system that are generally believed to arise during embryonic or fetal development or soon after birth. They are comprised of snarled tangles of arteries and veins.
The heart is a muscle about the size of your fist. The heart works like a pump and beats about 100,000 times a day.
A healthy adult heart generally beats 60 to 100 times a minute, but it can beat faster or slower at times. For example, physical activity, strong emotion, certain medicines, fever, or infection can make the heart beat faster. A person’s heart rate generally slows down during sleep. Some very fit athletes always have heart rates below 60 beats a minute because their hearts work so well.
The heart has two sides, separated by an inner wall called the septum. The right side of the heart pumps blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen. Then, oxygen-rich blood returns from the lungs to the left side of the heart, and the left side pumps it to the body.
The heart has four chambers and four valves and is connected to various blood vessels. Veins are the blood vessels that carry blood from the body to the heart. Arteries are the vessels that carry blood away from the heart to the body.
The heart has four chambers or “rooms”—two on the left side of the heart and two on the right.
Four valves control the flow of blood from the atria to the ventricles and from the ventricles into the two large arteries connected to the heart.
Valves are like doors that open and close. They open to allow blood to flow through to the next chamber or to one of the arteries, and then they shut to keep blood from flowing backward.
When the heart’s valves open and close, they make a “lub-DUB” sound that a doctor can hear using a stethoscope.
The arteries are major blood vessels connected to your heart.
The veins are also major blood vessels connected to your heart.
For more information on how a healthy heart works, see the Diseases and Conditions Index article on How the Heart Works. This article contains animations that show how your heart pumps blood and how your heart’s electrical system works.
This information has been provided by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute