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An observational study on heart's components, their main functions and what happens if one malfunctions

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Cardiovascular System

In this lab we will learn about the different components that make up the cardiovascular system such as the heart, heartbeat, blood pressure, blood, and blood flow. We will learn how each of these components work together and what it means if one does not work properly. The heart keeps the blood flowing to and from, separates poor blood from rich blood, creates blood pressure so the blood can flow through the blood vessels. Blood vessels transport the blood like a channel throughout the body, work with various body cells to give it what it needs, and bring blood flow to tissues that need it at a particular time.

Our first observation is of the heart. We will learn that it has 2 parts (left and right) and is separated by the septum. The right side of the heart sends blood through the lungs and the left side sends blood to the body. The heart contains 4 chambers and valves for blood flow and muscles and tendons. We will observe the exterior of the heart and identify the following: brachiocephalic artery, superior vena cava, aorta, right pulmonary artery, right pulmonary veins, right atrium, right coronary artery, right ventricle, inferior vena cava, left subclavian artery, left common carotid artery, left pulmonary artery, pulmonary trunk, left pulmonary veins, left atrium, left cardiac vein, left ventricle, and apex. Next we will observe the interior of the heart and identify the 4 chambers, right atrioventricular valve, left atrioventricular valve, pulmonary semilunar valve, aortic semilunar valve and chordae tendineae.

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After we have identified the parts of the heart we will trace the pathway of O2 poor and O2 rich blood through the heart. After we will learn how the heart beat results from impulses that initiate contractions. These contractions send electrolyte changes that can be detected and can be studied by recording voltage changes. By doing so doctors can read whether our heartbeats are regular or irregular. We will complete a diagram explaining the processes between the nodes that control the heartbeat. We will then learn how the heartbeat controls blood pressure. A heartbeat occurs when a chamber contracts, called systole, and relaxes called diastole. This results in the sound we associate with a heartbeat and is created by the closing of the atrioventricular valves and semilunar valves. We will perform an experiment and attempt to listen to a partner’s heartbeat using a stethoscope and determine which “thump” is louder. Then we will record (in partners) blood pressure. We will record it when our partner is at rest and then after a minute of exercise. We will analyze the results and guess why a rise in blood pressure may occur with an increases heart rate.

Next we will learn the crucial role of blood and blood flow. Without proper blood flow oxygen will not be carried to the heart and other cells of the body. There are 2 types of blood cells, red and white and they each perform different functions. Red blood cells are small and don’t have a nucleus therefore they carry more oxygen. The red color comes from hemoglobin. White blood cells are larger than red blood cells and have 5 different types: neutrophil, eosinophil, basophil, monocyte, and lymphocyte. White blood cells fight infection and their count helps doctors with diagnoses. We will examine a slide of both white and red blood cells and will have to identify which is which by observing their size, quantity, and lack of nucleus. Then we will examine the white blood cells in further detail to differentiate the different types. We will look for granular leukocytes and agranular leukocytes.

After we will learn the importance of blood flow and circulation. The heart pumps blood away from it through arteries and arterioles and receives blood back in through venules and veins. Capillaries connect the two and direct the blood to its designated destination. Using a microscope we will differentiate between veins and arteries. Then we will find the outer layer, middle layer, and inner layer. After we will see blood flowing through the veins and arteries through a small animal. Lastly, we will learn the pathways of blood flow in humans and how they follow channels ways, almost like highways, and prevent mixing between blood going in and blood going out of the heart. In more detail, the pulmonary circuit deals with the blood flow between the heart and lungs and the blood flow between the heart and kidneys. We will learn the names of the distinct names of the arteries and veins and which organ they work for.

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