Biology

Circulatory System: Blood Flow Pathway Through the Heart

Pathway of Blood Through the Heart

In this educational lesson, we learn about the blood flow order through the human heart in 14 easy steps, from the superior and inferior vena cava to the atria and ventricles. Come also learn with us the heart’s anatomy, including where deoxygenated and oxygenated blood flow, in the superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, atrium, ventricle, aorta, pulmonary arteries, pulmonary veins, and coronary arteries.

2000px-diagram_of_the_human_heart_cropped-svg

Quick & Easy Video on Blood Flow Pathway Through the Heart

Blood Flow Order: Step by Step Animation Tutorial

To gain a visual step-by-step understanding, check out our quick and easy video on the blood flow pathway through the heart in less than 90 seconds. Please notice that blue represents deoxygenated blood, and red represents oxygenated blood.

Cute Heart Circulatory System Joke, Pun, Comic

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14 Steps of Blood Flow Through the Heart

In summary from the video, in 14 steps, blood flows through the heart in the following order: 1) body –> 2) inferior/superior vena cava –> 3) right atrium –> 4) tricuspid valve –> 5) right ventricle –> 6) pulmonary arteries –> 7) lungs –> 8) pulmonary veins –> 9) left atrium –> 10) mitral or bicuspid valve –> 11) left ventricle –> 12) aortic valve –> 13) aorta –> 14) body.

heart_beating_animation

 

Superior Vena Cava & Inferior Vena Cava

The vena cava is the largest vein in the body that delivers oxygen-poor or deoxygenated blood to the right atrium of the heart. The superior vena cava comes from the upper part of the body, including the brain and arms, while the inferior vena cava comes from the abdominal area and legs.

What type of blood flows through the Superior
Vena Cava and Inferior Vena Cava, respectively?
Deoxygenated blood; Deoxygenated blood
Oxygenated blood; Oxygenated blood
Deoxygenated blood; Oxygenated blood
Oxygenated blood; Deoxygenated blood
   

Left Atrium & Right Atrium

The atria are the top two chambers of the heart that receive incoming blood from the body. The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood through the superior and inferior vena cavas from the body and pumps it to the right ventricle through the tricuspid valve, which opens to allow the blood flow through and closes to prevent blood backing up the atrium. The left atrium receives oxygenated blood through the pulmonary veins from the lungs. It pumps the blood through the mitral valve to the left ventricle. Attached to the atria are the pouches called auricles that expand to allow the atria to include more blood volume. For fetal circulation, there is a special hole shunt between the left atrium and right atrium called the foramen ovale that diverts blood away from the lungs and goes directly to the rest of the fetus’s body.

Deoxygenated Blood and Oxygenated Blood Flow Through the Heart - Copyright Moosmosis.org
Deoxygenated Blood and Oxygenated Blood Pathway through the heart. Red color represents oxygenated blood. Blue color respresents deoxygenated blood. Credit: Moosmosis Organization
Which valve does the blood flow through after
passing through the right atrium into the right ventricle?
Tricuspid Valve
Aortic Valve
Mitral Valve
Bicuspid Valve
   

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Left Ventricle & Right Ventricle

The ventricles are the two lower chambers of the heart. The right ventricle receives oxygen-poor blood from the right atrium and pumps it through the pulmonic semilunar valve to the pulmonary artery and into the lungs to be filled with oxygen. On the other hand, the left ventricle receives oxygen-rich blood from the left atrium and pumps it through the aortic semilunar valve to the aorta to deliver the oxygen to the rest of the body.

Pulmonary Veins and Pulmonary Artery Oxygenated and Deoxygenated Blood Flow Diagram
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Pulmonary Arteries & Pulmonary Veins

The pulmonary arteries deliver oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs, while the pulmonary veins deliver oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart. For fetal circulation, there is a special hole shunt called the ductus arteriosus that is between the pulmonary arteries and aorta to divert blood away from the fetus’s lungs. Learn more about how the ductus arteriosus works here, and why it’s there for fetuses.

Which structure of the circulatory system directly
delivers blood from the heart to the lungs?
Pulmonary arteries
Pulmonary veins
aorta
Inferior vena cava
   

Aorta & Coronary Arteries

The aorta is the largest artery in the body that leads from the left ventricle of the heart to the rest of the body. It carries oxygen-rich blood to deliver to the body’s cells. As an artery, it contains thicker walls than veins because it has to withstand the tough pumping blood pressure of the heart.

Heart Anatomy Joke Pun Comic - Circulatory System - Copyright Moosmosis.org

The coronary arteries are a set of arteries that branch off the aorta and are located on the heart. They carry oxygenated blood and nutrients to nourish the heart tissue cells. When the coronary arteries are clogged by excessive fatty tissue in cholesterol, it can lead to a lack of nutrients and oxygen for the heart, whose cells begin to perish, and this leads to a heart attack.

 
Which structure of the heart carries oxygenated
blood?
 
Coronary arteries
 
Pulmonary arteries
 
Superior vena cava
 
Right atrium
 
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Final Test Your Knowledge! πŸ˜€

   
Which
blood flow order through the heart is correct?
   
Body
–> Inferior/Superior Vena Cava –> Right Atrium –> Right Ventricle
–>Pulmonary Arteries –> Lungs –> Pulmonary Veins –> Left
Atrium –> Left Ventricle –> Aorta –> Body
   
Body –> Inferior/Superior Vena Cava –> Left Atrium –> Left
Ventricle –> Pulmonary Arteries –> Lungs –> Pulmonary Veins –>
Right Atrium –> Right Ventricle –> Aorta –> Body
Body–> Aorta –> Left Atrium –> Left Ventricle –> Pulmonary
Arteries –> Lungs –> Pulmonary Veins –> Right Atrium –> Right
Ventricle –> Inferior/Superior Vena Cava –> Body
Body –> Inferior/Superior Vena Cava –> Right Atrium –> Right
Ventricle –> Pulmonary Veins –> Lungs –> Pulmonary Arteries –>
Left Atrium –> Left Ventricle –> Aorta –> Body
       

Summary: What are the 14 steps of blood flow through the heart?

Blood flows through the heart in the following order: 1) body –> 2) inferior/superior vena cava –> 3) right atrium –> 4) tricuspid valve –> 5) right ventricle –> 6) pulmonary arteries –> 7) lungs –> 8) pulmonary veins –> 9) left atrium –> 10) mitral or bicuspid valve –> 11) left ventricle –> 12) aortic valve –> 13) aorta –> 14) body.

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All rights reserved. This essay or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever
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*This article has been accepted into Moosmosis’s Journal of Global Health and Education . Accepted 2020. Published July 2020.

Works Cited

  1. Tubbs RS. The heart is simply a muscle. Clin Anat. 2016;29(3):267-268. doi:10.1002/ca.22704
  2. Miao JH, Makaryus AN. Anatomy, Thorax, Heart Veins. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020.
  3. Anderson RH, Wilcox BR. Understanding cardiac anatomy: the prerequisite for optimal cardiac surgery. Ann Thorac Surg. 1995;59(6):1366-1375. doi:10.1016/0003-4975(95)00195-q
  4. Courchaine K, Rykiel G, Rugonyi S. Influence of blood flow on cardiac development. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2018;137:95-110. doi:10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2018.05.005
  5. Efimov IR. Innovation in optical imaging: looking inside the heart. Heart Rhythm. 2007;4(7):925-926. doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2007.04.006
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102 replies »

  1. This is a superb article on heart blood flow! My great uncle had a heart attack last year and his left ventricle didn’t pump well. He’s doing better now with medications. Excellent work!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is so helpful! It helped me to trace a drop of blood through the circulation more easily and understand it. Thanks for the excellent article on heart blood flow!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Outstanding work on heart blood flow steps!! This helped me a lot on my exam on the circulatory system. Thanks you’re the best!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amazing! This helped me to trace a drop of blood through the circulation for hw. Thanks for the blood flow through the heart article ❀️ I subscribed to your site!

    Liked by 1 person

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