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Heart surgery

Understanding the heart

The heart is a muscle that pumps blood around the body. The left side of the heart receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and then supplies this oxygen rich blood to the rest of the body.


Heart diagram showing the flow of blood

Blood that is low in oxygen then returns to the right side of the heart where it is pumped back to the lungs to receive fresh oxygen. The 'heart rate' is the number of times the heart fills with and pumps out blood each minute. What is considered a 'normal' heart rate varies from person to person, according to factors such as age and fitness. An average heart rate is 60-100 beats per minute.


The coronary arteries

All living tissues and organs (of which the heart is one) need blood that is rich with oxygen to work. There are millions of arteries all over the body that carry oxygenrich blood from the heart to organs and muscles so that these can stay healthy. The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle itself. These arteries lie over the surface of the heart. There are three main arteries - a right coronary artery and two left coronary arteries. These branch off into smaller arteries.


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