The human heart is one of the most fascinating organs in the body. It serves as a pump to move blood to every point in your body. It does this non-stop, without rest, every day your life. In fact, it starts beating when you are only a few weeks old – in your mother’s uterus. The heart is made of four primary chambers – two of which are called the atria, the other two of which are the ventricles. This article will outline the function of the heart ventricles.
There are two ventricles in a human heart. They are referred to by their approximate location in the chest – the left ventricle and the right ventricle. Of course, as is the case with many things, this names are somewhat approximate – the real configuration of the ventricles in the chest is a bit more complicated and certainly not as simple as “left” and “right”. But the “left” and “right” monikers are close enough to describe what’s going on.
The left and right ventricles are the larger of the four chambers of the heart. Blood returns from the body and first enters the right atrium. The right atrium dumps the blood in to the right ventricle. The right ventricle is then responsible for moving this blood to the lungs. Blood that is returning from its journey around the body is low in oxygen and high in waste chemicals (like carbon dioxide). In order to exchange carbon dioxide for fresh oxygen, the blood needs to get to the lungs. That’s essentially what the right ventricle does – every minute of every day of your life.
Once the blood gets to the lungs, fresh oxygen is diffused in. From there it travels back to the left atrium. The left atrium then passes it along to the left ventricle. The left ventricle is by far the largest of the four chambers of the heart. It’s large and muscular because of what it needs to do. The left ventricle is responsible for pumping the freshly oxygenated blood around the body.
The walls of both ventricles are large and muscular. They receive electrical signals from a specific part of the heart, and are thus triggered to contract in a very specific sequence. They have to push blood a long ways against a fairly large amount of pressure. Because of this, they need to be very strong. The left ventricle in particular is very, very strong. The muscle tissue that makes up cardiac muscles is highly resistant to fatigue. It wouldn’t be a good thing if your heart needed to “take a break” every now and then.
So there you are – the function of the heart ventricles. They serve to move blood to the lungs in the case of the right ventricle, and to the entire body in the case of the left ventricle. It’s really not a lot more complicated than that.