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Taking the heart out of heartache

The heart can be a serious pain. Here are a few things to help you out:

Know the ABC's of blood flow. Just like the ABC's is one of the first things you do in school, it's also one of the first things blood does. Check it out: What are the first vessels leading out of the heart? The Aorta, the Brachiocephalic artery (Right), the common carotid artery (Left), and the subclavian artery (Left). Notice anything? These are the three branches of the Aorta, in order, that you need to know for lab!

Trouble remembering where the aortic branches go to? Well let me ask you this: Any of you ever break your arm? Weird question right? Not quite - Brachi literally means arm! Cephelo is Greek for head. So what does this mean? Brachiocephalic artery literally means 'Artery that goes to your arm and your face. Keeping this in mind Where does subclavian go? You got it, right below the clavicle and down the left arm.

How do you know which side of the heart your looking at? Look for the side with the thickest walls. The Left ventricle is responsible for sending blood all throughout the body while the right ventricle send blood just to the lungs. This means that the LV has to be much stronger than the RV and as a result has more muscle - more muscle means thickest walls on either side.

Having trouble keeping atrium and ventricle straight? Know what an atrium is? In all kinds of movies and shows you always see these huge mansions with a fancy room when you walk in - that's what an atrium is. Just like the big room when you walk into the mansion, the atrium is the room you are in when you first enter the heart.

Starlings Law of the Heart sounds confusing but in reality it is just this: What comes in must go out.

What on earth are papillary muscles?! Well they are little muscles in the heart that tug on the chordae tendeneae to open the atrioventricular valves (Bi-cuspid and tri-cuspid). Having a hard time remembering? Papillary is Greek for nipple... Somehow knowing that always seems to do the trick. I dare you to forget what papillary muscles do now.

Hopefully that helps a few of you out! Anything you'd like to see that I didn't talk about? Just ask and you got it!