What are the answers to the following questions? Please help! Answer as much as you can.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES FOR THIS EXERCISE:
1. Identify all of the anatomical structures listed in this exercise.
2. Clearly explain the location of the human heart and its attached blood vessels
to a person who has never had an anatomy class.
3. Describe and identify the three primary histological layers of the heart.
4. Describe and identify the three primary histological layers of an artery.
5. Identify the primary brain stem structure that controls heart rate.
6. Identify the skeletal structures surrounding the heart, and how you can use
these bony landmarks to define the boundaries of the heart on a living
7. Be proficient with the review questions
Read through this exercise and complete any activities that appear in the readings.
SECTION 1: BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The heart is an organ of the cardiovascular system. Using blood as the transport
vehicle, this system functions to transport substances around the body that are vital to
homeostasis. The contracting heart is the primary force that sustains blood movement
through the system.
SECTION 2: REVIEW MATERIAL
You should review the following tissues:
You should also review the medulla oblongata, (if you have already done brain dissection in
lab) which has some control over heart contraction rate, and the skeletal structures around
SECTION 3: ORIENTATION
Your heart is a somewhat cone shaped organ, approximately the size of your own clenched
fist. The heart is located in the medial cavity of the thorax (the mediastinum). It is flanked
laterally by the lungs, posteriorly by the vertebral column, and anteriorly by the sternum.
The apex (lower point) of the heart extends slightly to the left of the body's midline and
rests on the diaphragm around the area of the fifth intercostal space (between the fifth and
sixth rib). The base (upper broad surface) of the heart lies just below the second rib and
points towards the right shoulder. Usually, the lower right chamber (the right ventricle) of
the heart rests towards the front of the thorax.
SECTION 4: BASIC HEART ANATOMY AND BLOOD VESSELS
You should be able to identify structures on illustrations, such as those found in your
textbook and worksheets. If you can not identify all of your structures, then you should get
out your textbook and worksheets and start memorizing them now.
SECTION 5: ANATOMY OF AN ARTERY
Arteries are conducting vessels that carry blood away from the heart. The walls Arteries are
conducting vessels that carry blood away from the heart. The walls of arteries are
constructed of three coats, or tunics. Starting outside and moving inward, the three "coats"
are the tunica externa, the tunica media, and the tunica interna.
The tunica externa is the outermost coat. This layer is composed of fibrous connective or
areaolar tissue, and its primary function is to support and protect arteries.
The tunica media is the bulky middle coat and is composed primarily of smooth muscle
(and elastic tissue). This layer regulates the diameter of an artery, which in turn alters
resistance and blood pressure.
The tunica interna lines the lumen of an artery, and consists of a single layer of squamous
cells. This layer of cells, along with its slight basement membrane, is called the endothelial
layer. This endothelium is continuous with the endocardium, and is specialized to decrease
resistance to blood flow.
Vena Cava entrance to Right Atrium
Pulmonary veins return to Left
SECTION 6: SHEEP HEART DISSECTION
Here are the basic steps you should follow when dissecting the sheep heart:
1. Gather your dissection equipment and a sheep heart.
2. Rinse the sheep heart thoroughly with cold water to remove excess
preservatives and to flush out blood clots.
3. Observe the pericardium. If the pericardial sac is intact then remove
the outer layer from its attachment points.
4. Carefully pull the visceral pericardium (epicardium) away from the
myocardium (follow the same procedure described in step 3).
5. Examine the external surface of the heart. Notice the accumulation of
adipose tissue. This adipose usually accumulates along the
boundaries of the heart chambers and along the coronary arteries.
Remove as much adipose as possible. Now you should be able to
identify the apex (bottom left "point" of the heart) and the auricles
(earlike flaps projecting from the atria).
6. Locate the pulmonary trunk and the aorta on the superior aspect of the
heart. Clear the adipose away from these arteries. The pulmonary
trunk divides into the left and right pulmonary arteries. The aorta will
have a large branch coming from beneath the pulmonary trunk. This
branch is the right brachiocephalic artery. The right brachiocephalic
artery divides into the right subclavian and the right common carotid
arteries. Notice the three distinct layers of all these arteries.
7. Starting at the apex and moving towards the base, make a coronal
(frontal) cut through the heart. Stop cutting when your knife reaches
the top portions of the atria.
8. Open the heart at the apex. Now you should be able to identify the
remaining structures on your Hot List.
9. Notice that the heart is made up of three histological layers: the
epicardium (which is the same as the visceral pericardium), the
myocardium (literally "heart muscle"), and the endocardium ("inside the
heart"). Locate the side with the thickest myocardial wall. This will
orient you to the left side of the heart.
10. You should see that there are spaces (or "chambers") on the left and
right sides of the lower heart. These are the left and right ventricles
("vent" referring to something coming out of the space, which is blood
in this case).
11. You should also see a thick structure dividing the two ventricles, the
bulk of which is comprised of cardiac muscle. This is the
12. The ventricles are divided from the chambers directly above them by
atrioventricular (or "AV") valves. These valves have flaps (or "cusps")
to which "heart strings" attach. The left AV valve had two cusps, so it
can be referred to as being a "bicuspid" valve. The right valve has
three cusps, so it can be referred to as being a "tricuspid" valve.
13. The strings that attach to the AV cusps are called chordae tendinea.
14. The chordae tendineae are anchored to the ventricular walls via
papillary ("nipple-like") muscles.
15. You will need to cut through the rest of your heart in order to identify
the remainder of the Hot List structures.
16. Note that you will need to remove the right ventricular wall and cut into
the pulmonary trunk in order to view the pulmonary valve (or right
17. Properly dispose of all organic materials and clean your dissecting
tools and trays before leaving lab
SECTION 7: EXPLORING VALVE ACTION
If time allows, you can imitate blood flow through the heart and observe valve action be
doing the following activity:
1. Obtain an intact heart and locate the superior vena cava (SVC). Use
your scissors to cut along the walls of the SVC in order to open up the
right atrium. Do not cut through the entire atrial wall. Only cut enough
so you can see the interior of the chamber.
2. Observe the right A.V. valve (the right A.V. Valve has "three flaps" or
is "tricuspid" in structure).
3. Slowly pour water into the right atrium and allow it to flow into the right
4. Gently squeeze the right ventricle and watch the closing action of the
right A.V. Valve WARNING: Do not squeeze the ventricle too roughly
or too quickly. If you do then be prepared to have water squirted on
your face, in your mouth, nose, eyes, etc.
5. Drain the water from the heart.
6. Now go to the pulmonary trunk and cut down the front of its wall until
you see the pulmonary semilunar valve.
7. Pour some water into the pulmonary trunk so it runs towards the right
ventricle. Observe the closing action of this valve.
When you are done with this activity, answer the following question: How is the closing
action of atrioventricular (cuspid) valves different from the closing action of semilunar
SECTION 8: REVIEW QUESTIONS
The heart is an organ of this body system. ________________________
What is the muscular layer of the heart is called? ______________________
What is the name of the sac surrounding the heart? ____________________
What type of tissue comprises the bulk of the myocardium? ______________
What is the function of the heart? ___________________________________
6. What is the function of an artery? ___________________________________
7. From outermost to innermost, what are the three layers of an artery?
8. What is the function of a vein? _____________________________________
9. What is the name of the space in a blood vessel wherein blood flows?
10. What is the lining of the heart called? ________________________________
11. What is the primary brain stem structure that controls heart rate.
12. What is the specific space in the thoracic cavity where the heart is located?
13. What bone protects the heart anteriorly? ___________________________
14. The bulk of the heart rests on this side of the body. ___________________
15. The pericardium attaches to this structure inferiorly. ___________________
16. Which side of the heart as a thicker ventricular wall? ___________________
17. What layer of an artery consists mostly of smooth muscle? _______________
18. What chambers of the heart function to receive blood from the veins?
19. The tunica interna is continuous with this layer of the heart.
20. What part of the heart rests just below the right second rib?
21. What are the bottom two chambers of the heart called? _________________
22. What valves are located between the atria and the ventricles?
23. The apex of the heart points to this side of the body. ____________________
24. What is the branch of the aorta that divides into the right subclavian and right
common carotid arteries? _________________________________________
25. What is the scientific term for the "heart strings" that extend from the AV
cusps to the papillary muscles? ____________________________________
26. What structure divides the two ventricles of the heart? __________________
27. The superior vena cava attaches to this heart chamber. _________________
28. What is the largest artery of the human body? _________________________
29. What are the "ear-like" structures that extend from the atria? _____________
30. The apex of the heart usually sits at the same approximate level as the space
between these two ribs. __________________________________________
SECTION 9: PRACTICE TESTS
Test your knowledge with the following practice tests Real Heart Images
The primary neural control of the heart originates in brain section (A / B / C). Choose one.
The name of this brain section is the ____________________________________________.
1. What structure are the tweezers holding?
2. The two thin leaflets circled make up the
3. The beams and bridges circled are
4. These three leaflet structures make up
5. What are the small string like structures
held by the tweezers?
6. The chamber circled is the _____________
The outer layer of the
heart is the
The muscle mass is
The inner layer of the
heart is called the
10. The structure in the grasp of the tweezers is the
11. The sheet-like structure being removed from the
heart is the
12. These three valve leaflets make up what valve? __________________________________
13. This is another valve with similar structure to that above. What valve is it?__________________
Tag 1. 14. This muscle mass is
the_________________ of the
Tag 2. This muscle mass is the intraventricular
Tag 3. The ridges of tissue are called
Tag 4. This is the
19. The circled structure is the _________________
20. Name the upper chamber:
21. Name the Lower chamber:
22. Name the three leaflet
23.The upper circled heart portion is called the
24. The lower marked area is known as the:
25. Name the upper chamber:___________
26. Name the lower chamber: ___________
27. The muscular protrusions into the
chambers are called the