High School Biology : Understanding the Heart

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for High School Biology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Understanding The Heart

Which of the following is not found in the heart?

Possible Answers:

Cardiac sphincter

Sinoatrial node

Mitral valve

Right atrium

Left ventricle

Correct answer:

Cardiac sphincter

Explanation:

Blood enters the heart through the vena cavae into the right atrium. It flows through the right side of the heart, to the lungs, and back to the left side of the heart. When it arrives in the left ventricle, it is pumped into the aorta to be delivered to the body. The mitral valve separates the left atrium from the left ventricle, and is also known as the bicuspid valve. The sinoatrial node is the natural pacemaker of the heart. It is located in the right atrium and generated cardiac action potentials.

The cardiac sphincter divides the esophagus from the stomach, and is actually part of the digestive system.

Example Question #2 : Understanding The Heart

Which structure is referred to as the pacemaker of the heart?

Possible Answers:

Atrioventricular node

Sinoatrial node

Atrioventricular septum

Bundle of His

Correct answer:

Sinoatrial node

Explanation:

In order for the entire heart to contract in unison, there needs to be a conduction pathway that sends an action potential throughout the entire heart muscle at once. There is a specialized group of cardiac cells responsible for initiating this action potential throughout the heart. This pacemaker structure is called the sinoatrial node.

The atrioventricular node and bundle of His are involved in coordinating and mediating the contraction of the heart, once it is initiated by the sinoatrial node. The atrioventricular septum is the muscular wall that divides the right and left sides of the heart.

Example Question #3 : Understanding The Heart

After crossing the tricuspid valve, blood passes into which heart chamber?

Possible Answers:

Right atrium

Truncus arteriosus

Left atrium

Left ventricle

Right ventricle

Correct answer:

Right ventricle

Explanation:

When tracing blood flow through the heart, it is usually easiest to start at the vena cavae. Deoxygenated blood enters the right atrium through the superior and inferior vena cavae. From the right atrium it is pumped to the right ventricle and then to the pulmonary arteries, which carry it to the lungs for reoxygenation. After loading oxygen in the lungs, the blood returns to the heart through the pulmonary veins and enters the left atrium. From the left atrium it is pumped into the left ventricle, and then out of the heart into the aorta for systemic circulation. The blood travels through the body, and then returns to the vena cavae.

The tricuspid valve separates the right atrium from the right ventricle. After passing through this valve, blood will be in the right ventricle. The bicuspid, or mitral, valve separates the left atrium and ventricle.

Example Question #4 : Understanding The Heart

The P wave of an electrocardiogram is generated in which region of the heart?

Possible Answers:

The bundle of His

The Purkinje fibers 

The sinoatrial node

The atrioventricular node

Multiple atrial pacemaker regions

Correct answer:

The sinoatrial node

Explanation:

The P wave of the electrocardiogram corresponds with atrial contraction (atrial systole). The pacemaker of the heart is the sinoatrial (SA) node. When the SA node stimulates the heart, it initiated atrial systole. The signal causes the P wave before traveling to the other regions of the conducting system of the heart. There is only one atrial pacemaker region, which ensures coordinated contraction.

The atrioventricular (AV) node, bundle of His, and Purkinje fibers are progressively lower in the conduction system and are not associated with P wave generation. They are involved in signal mediation and ventricular systole, which corresponds with the QRS complex.

Example Question #5 : Understanding The Heart

In an average adult, the blood volume is around five liters. Although the left and right ventricles have chamber volumes of around 100 milliliters, the amount emptied during each heartbeat is only 70% of ventricular volume. If the heart beats at 70 beats per minute, which of the following is true?

Possible Answers:

The entire blood volume circulates once through both sides of the heart each minute

About 70% of the total blood volume circulates through both sides of the heart each minute

The entire blood volume circulates twice through both sides of the heart each minute

About half of the total blood volume circulates through both sides of the heart each minute

More blood passes through the left ventricle than through the right ventricle each minute

Correct answer:

The entire blood volume circulates once through both sides of the heart each minute

Explanation:

The ejection fraction of a healthy heart is about 70% of its 100ml volume, or 70ml per stroke.

At a heart rate of 70 beats per minute, then approximately 5 liters is pumped by EACH side of the heart each minute.

Both the right and left sides of the heart must pump the same volumes since all blood from the right side returns to the left side after passing through the lungs.

Example Question #6 : Understanding The Heart

The tricuspid valve prevents backflow of blood from the __________ into the __________.

Possible Answers:

pulmonary artery . . . right ventricle

right ventricle . . . right atrium

right atrium . . . left atrium

aorta . . . left ventricle

left ventricle . . . left atrium

Correct answer:

right ventricle . . . right atrium

Explanation:

The heart contains four chambers: two upper chambers, called atria, and two lower chambers, called ventricles. Valves are present between each of the chambers and prevent the backflow of blood into the previous chamber. The tricuspid valve prevents backflow from the right ventricle into the right atrium. The bicuspid valve prevents backflow from the left ventricle into the left atrium. The semilunar valves prevent backflow into the ventricles from the aorta and pulmonary arteries. The aortic valve prevents flow from the aorta to the left ventricle and the pulmonary valve prevents flow from the pulmonary artery to the right ventricle.

 

Example Question #7 : Understanding The Heart

Which of the following describes the path of blood through the pulmonary circuit?

Possible Answers:

Oxygen-rich blood goes to the lungs to be deoxygenated, then returns to the heart

Oxygen-rich blood goes to the heart to be deoxygenated, then returns to the body

Oxygen-poor blood goes to the lungs to be oxygenated, then returns to the heart

Oxygen-poor blood goes to the heart to be oxygenated, then returns to the body

Correct answer:

Oxygen-poor blood goes to the lungs to be oxygenated, then returns to the heart

Explanation:

The pulmonary circuit is reponsible for carrying blood to and from the lungs. Blood enters the right atrium from the systemic circuit, it is then pumped into the right ventricle. From there it leaves the heart via the pulmonary arteries, and enters the pulmonary capillaries. Gas exchange occurs between the alveoli and pulmonary capillaries. Then, the blood returns to the heart via the pulmonary veins and enters the left atrium of the heart. From there, it is pumped into the left ventricle and out to the body through the aorta. Recall that the right side of the heart deals with the oxygen-poor blood returned from the systemic circulation; this same blood is then pumped to the lungs to become oxygen-rich. The oxygen-rich blood from the lungs comes to the left side of the heart, where it will be pumped to the body tissues.

Example Question #8 : Understanding The Heart

Which of the following would happen if the chordae tendinae attached to the mitral valve were torn or damaged?

Possible Answers:

Blood might flow back through the tricuspid valve to the lungs through the right pulmonary artery.

Blood might flow back through the mitral valve and to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries.

None of the other answers.

Blood might flow back through the tricuspid valve to the lungs through the left pulmonary artery.

The pressure in the left ventricle would be higher than normal during contraction.

Correct answer:

Blood might flow back through the mitral valve and to the lungs through the pulmonary arteries.

Explanation:

The chordae tendinae are strong filaments that attach to the valves in the heart. They keep the valves closed during contraction (i.e. they prevent the valves from opening into the atriums) so that blood does not flow back to the previous chamber. The mitral valve, after the left atrium, is where oxygenated blood arrives when it travels back to the heart from the left and right pulmonary veins. If the chordae tendinae of the mitral valve were damaged, the valve would not function properly and blood could possibly flow backwards towards the pulmonary veins and into the lungs. Since the chordae tendinae keep valves closed during contraction, they would not seal tight enough to keep normal pressure within the left ventricle if they were torn or damaged. The tricuspid valve is on the right side of the heart. So it will not be affected by the chordae tendinae of the mitral valve and in any case blood flow in this part of the heart could not flow back to the pulmonary veins.

Example Question #9 : Understanding The Heart

Where is the mitral valve, and what is its function?

Possible Answers:

In the left side of the heart; allows the one way flow of blood from the left ventricle to the aorta

In the right side of the heart; allows the one-way flow of blood from the right atrium to the right ventricle

In the right side of the heart; allows the one way flow of blood from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery

In the left side of the heart; allows the one-way flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle

In the right side of the heart; allows the one way flow of blood from the left ventricle to the pulmonary artery

Correct answer:

In the left side of the heart; allows the one-way flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle

Explanation:

The cardiac cycle consists of the filling of the right atrium with venous blood (oxygen-poor blood that has returned from the body to now be pumped into the lungs for oxygenation), and opening of the tricuspid valve to allow transfer of blood to the the right ventricle. The right atrium contracts to do this. Then, the tricuspid valve closes and the right ventricle contracts to pump the blood through the pulmonary valve into the pulmonary arteries, which carry oxygen-poor blood into the lungs to be oxygenated. Pulmonary veins carry oxygen-rich blood from the lungs into the left atrium. The mitral valve opens to allow the flow of blood from the left atrium into the left ventricle, the left atrium contracts to help. The mitral valve closes and the left ventricle contracts, pumping blood through the aortic valve into the aorta, through which oxygen-rich blood is transferred to the whole body. 

Example Question #10 : Understanding The Heart

Which of the following parts of the heart contains muscle?

Possible Answers:

Visceral pericardium

Endocardium

Epicardium

Myocardium

Parietral pericardium

Correct answer:

Myocardium

Explanation:

The myocardium is the layer of the heart that contains the muscle cells. Remember that "myo" refers to muscle and "cardio" refers to the heart. "Epi" means above or over, "endo" means within or inner; the epicardium and endocardium are serous membranes that comprise part of the pericardium, which protects and lubricates the heart.

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