20 Interesting Facts About the Human Heart
03 January 2020
- A human heart is roughly the size of a large fist.
- The heart weighs between 9 and 12 ounces (250 and 350 grams).
- The heart beats about 100,000 times per day (about three billion beats in a lifetime).
- An adult heart beats about 60 to 80 times per minute.
- Newborns hearts beat faster than adult hearts, about 70 -190 beats per minute.
- The heart pumps about 6 quarts (5.7 litres) of blood throughout the body.
- The heart is located in the center of the chest, usually pointing slightly left.
- Your heart is located in your chest and is well protected by your rib cage.
- Every day, the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck 20 miles. In a lifetime, that is equivalent to driving to the moon and back.
- Because the heart has its own electrical impulse, it can continue to beat even when separated from the body, as long as it has an adequate supply of oxygen.
- The “thump-thump” of a heartbeat is the sound made by the four valves of the heart closing.
- The heart begins beating at four weeks after conception and does not stop until death.
- A woman’s heart typically beats faster than a man’s. The heart of an average man beats approximately 70 times a minute, whereas the average woman has a heart rate of 78 beats per minute.
- Grab a tennis ball and squeeze it tightly: that’s how hard the beating heart works to pump blood.
- During an average lifetime, the heart will pump nearly 1.5 million barrels of blood—enough to fill 200 train tank cars.
- French physician Rene Laennec (1781-1826) invented the stethoscope when he felt it was inappropriate to place his ear on his large-buxomed female patients' chests.
- In 1903, physiologist Willem Einthoven (1860-1927) invented the electrocardiograph, which measures electric current in the heart.
- In 1929, German surgeon Werner Forssmann (1904-1979) examined the inside of his own heart by threading a catheter into his arm vein and pushing it 20 inches and into his heart, inventing cardiac catheterization, a now common procedure.
- On December 3, 1967, Dr. Christiaan Barnard (1922-2001) of South Africa transplanted a human heart into the body of Louis Washansky. Although the recipient lived only 18 days, it is considered the first successful heart transplant.
- “Atrium” is Latin for “entrance hall,” and “ventricle” is Latin for “little belly”.
- Avraham, Regina. 2000. The Circulatory System. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.
- Chilnick, Lawrence. 2008. Heart Disease: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. Philadelphia, PA: Perseus Books Group.
- Daniels, Patricia, et. al. 2007. Body: The Complete Human. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.
- Davis, Goode P., et. al. 1981. The Heart: The Living Pump. Washington D.C.: U.S. News Books.
- The Heart and Circulatory System. 2000. Pleasantville, NY: The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.
- Parramon’s Editorial Team. 2005. Essential Atlas of Physiology. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
- Tsiaras, Alexander. 2005. The InVision Guide to a Healthy Heart. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.