Skip BreadcrumbTreating Heart Disease > How The Heart Works
diagram of a human heart

How Does the Heart Work?

The heart is like a house.

It has rooms

There are 4 rooms (called chambers) in the heart:

  • 2 small ones (called atria) 
  • 2 larger ones (called ventricles)

It has doors

There are doors (called valves) between the rooms that open and close to allow blood to flow through the heart 

It has electricity

The heart’s electrical system has a built-in pacemaker. 

It has plumbing

The heart has small pipes (called coronary arteries). 

Everything Works Together to Keep It Functioning

The rooms (chambers) and doors (valves) work together as a pump. The heart is a muscle that pumps blood to the lungs and the body.

Each time the heart contracts (beats), this pumping action is felt in the large arteries of the body as a pulsing sensation. This is what you feel when you take your pulse.

The electricity allows the heart to pump 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The pipes supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.