Heart – it is a weird thing right? You can win it, you can break it! You can feel it and you can hear it beating! It is one such organ in our body without which we cannot survive. Put in simple words, the heart is a vital organ that keeps us alive. But the question is, ‘how much do you really know about your heart?’ Let us today learn 40 interesting facts about human heart and be amazed by its amazing abilities.
Facts About Human Heart: 1-10
1. Human body cannot survive without a heart but the heart can survive without a human body! Sounds weird right? That’s true. Human heart has its own electrical impulses. This allows the heart to continue beating even if it is separated from the body. However, there is one requirement. It should continue to get a steady supply of oxygen exactly the same way it receives oxygen inside the body.
2. Human heart beats around 100,000 times in a single day. So, if someone lives up to 70 years, his or her heart will beat for 2.5 billion times. Okay, that may be hard to remember so, for now it will suffice to know that our heart beats 72 times a minute.
3. What do we really mean when we say that our heart beats? Heart beat is nothing but the pumping action of the heart muscles. The heart is a pump that works day and night without rest. The moment the heart decides to take rest, we are dead!
4. So, what does it pump? It pumps blood. The human heart is responsible for pumping 2,000 gallons of blood each day. It is not that we have 2,000 gallons of blood in our body but the fact is that 5.6 liters of blood that we have in our body is pumped so many times that the net volume pumped is 2,000 gallons.
5. The heart pumps the blood and sends it to different tissues and organs in our body through 60,000 miles of blood vessels!
6. The energy created by the pumping action of the heart in a human body in one day is enough to drive a truck for a distance of 20 miles! So, if all the energy produced by the heart throughout the lifetime of a person can be collected, it will be enough to drive all the way to the moon and come back to earth!
7. The heart clocks 150 beats a minute in the fetal stage. This is over twice the beating rate in adults. By the time the fetus reaches 12 weeks of age, the heart starts pumping 60 pints of blood in one day!
8. The heart is responsible for pumping blood to all 75 trillion cells present in human body. The only place where blood is not sent by the heart are the human corneas.
9. Heart is the only muscle in human body which does the maximum amount of physical work, generating around 1-5 watts of power. Even with 1 watt power, the heart can produce 2.5 gigajoules of energy in 80 years (assuming that a person survives 80 years.
10. In any healthy adult, the heart is responsible for pumping 5.6 liters of blood to each and every body tissue and also to-and-from lungs in just a single minute.
Facts About Human Heart: 11-20
11. According to ancient Egyptians, all major organs in the body including the heart possessed their own independent will and were capable of moving around inside the body.
12. It was Plato’s idea that the brain was responsible for reasoning and the heart for responsible for passions.
13. In an average lifetime, anyone’s heart will be pumping blood enough to fill a total of two hundred train tank cars, which is equivalent to 1.5 million barrels of blood!
14. Human heart starts beating when it reaches the age of 4 weeks after conception. Once the beating starts, the heart never stops. When the heart actually stops, a person is actually dead.
15. Premature Ventricular Contraction is heart condition where the heartbeats are jumpy and irregular. This is usually caused when a person lacks sleep for a prolonged period of time. This condition may be caused by other factors as well.
16. The electrical activity of a healthy heart can be disrupted by cocaine. Cocaine can lead to arterial spasms leading to strokes or heart attack even in perfectly healthy individuals.
17. Back in 304-250 B.C., Erasistratus of Chios was the first ever physician to propose that human heart acts like a pump.
18. The heart of a woman beats faster than the heart of a man. A man’s heart usually beats at 72 bpm whereas a woman’s heart usually beats at 78 bpm (bpm stands for beats per minute).
19. Women’s breasts were actually responsible for the invention of stethoscope. It was actually invented by Rene Laennec, a French Physician who actually found placing ears on the chest of a large-bosomed female patient just to hear and count the heartbeats.
20. Blood travels to different parts of the body from heart and comes back to the heart. From heart to lungs and back to heart, the blood takes only 6 seconds for this entire journey. For heart to brain and back to heart, it takes only 8 seconds and for heart to toes and back to heart, it takes only 16 seconds.
Facts About Human Heart: 21-30
21. Cardiac catheterization, which is very widespread and common was actually invented back in 1929 by Werner Forssmann, a German surgeon. He actually threaded a catheter to the vein of his arm and pushed it all the way up by 20 inches right into his heart and examined the interior of his own heart.
22. Our body consists of arteries and veins. Arteries are responsible for carrying oxygenated blood from heart to the rest of the body and veins are responsible for carrying deoxygenated blood from the body to the heart.
23. Atrium in heart (the place in heart where the blood from the body gets collect) comes from the Latin word named atrium which means “entrance hall”. Ventricles which collect the blood from the atrium and expels it to the body is the Latin word for “little belly”.
24. The first ever successful heart transplant was in year 1967 on December 3. It was carried out by Dr. Christiaan Barnard of South Africa. The patient was Louis Washansky. Though Louis only survived for 18 days after the transplant, the operation is considered to be successful because the patient at least survived for little over two weeks instead of dying on spot.
25. Obtrusive Sleep Apnea is a medical condition usually found in heavy snorers. This medical condition can actually have a negative impact on human heart.
26. Aristotle’s philosophy was the origin for the term ‘heartfelt’. According to Aristotle, emotions and thoughts came from sensory inputs collected by the heart from peripheral organs through blood vessels.
27. During the ancient times, Roman Gladiators had a very well-renowned surgeon from Pergamum. His name was Galen. It was Galen who disproved the conclusion of Hippocrates. Hippocrates once concluded that the arteries are filled with air. Galen demonstrated that it was blood that filled the arteries.
28. According to Galen, heart was nothing but a low-temperature oven whose sole duty was to keep blood warm. He also believed that the blood actually moved from one side of heart to the other through tiny holes present inside the heart.
29. Aristotle also had the same view. He believed that heart was the source of heat for the human body and that the heart received its fuel in form of blood that flowed into the heart from the liver. He believed that the blood that entered the heart was then turned into spiritual flame by the air that enters the lungs. According to Aristotle, brain was a mere cooling center for the blood.
30. Back in the ancient times, Galen proposed that the heart continuously produced blood. This was however disproved by the discovery of the circulatory system in 1616 by William Harvey who later said that a human body holds only a finite amount of blood and that this finite volume keeps circulating throughout the body in a single direction.
Facts About Human Heart: 31-40
31. The oxygenated blood from heart rushes through aorta (the largest artery in human body) at a speed of 1.6 kilometers in an hour. However, by the time the blood eventually reaches the capillaries, it slows down to a speed of 43 inches an hour.
32. Lub-dub lub-dub is the sound we hear when we place our ears on someone’s chest right above the heart. That is actually the sound of the heartbeat which is caused by the closing atrioventricular valves in the heart.
33. A woman’s heart weighs around 8 ounces whereas a man’s heart weighs around 10 ounces.
34. Blood pressure at any given point in time is the pressure that the blood puts on the walls of the chambers of the heart. When the heart is relaxed, the pressure exerted by the blood is the diastolic pressure and when the heart is beating/pumping, the pressure exerted by the blood is the systolic pressure.
35. Blood can be squirted to a distance of 30 feet by the pressure that is created by a heartbeat.
36. The electrical impulses in the heart muscles are what make the heart pump or beat.
37. The blood flows into the heart from the veins. The blood first enters the right atrium from where it moves on to the right ventricle using tricuspid valve. From the right ventricle the heart pumps the blood into the lungs where CO2 is removed from the blood and the blood absorbs O2.
38. The oxygenated blood is then pumped into the heart which first enters the left atrium and then enters the left ventricle through bicuspid valve. It then moves out to the rest of the body through the arteries.
39. Electrocardiogram is a machine that is used by physicians to monitor the heart’s electrical signals. The signals are in form of a straight line with frequent spikes. If the line is completely flat, it means that there are no electrical signals in heart and that the person is either dead or dying. This machine was invented in 1903 by Willem Einthoven, a physiologist.
40. If a kitchen faucet it left turned on for 45 years straight if the amount of water released by the faucet is to match the amount of blood pumped by the human heart in a lifetime.
So, that concludes the list of our 40 interesting facts about human heart. However, that does not mean that the list is a complete one. There may be several other human heart facts that may be as interesting and intriguing as those mentioned above. If you can and if you are willing to add a few more facts, feel free to share through our comments section. We will love to learn more from you guys too!
1. Tsiaras, Alexander. 2005. The InVision Guide to a Healthy Heart. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers
2. Parramon’s Editorial Team. 2005. Essential Atlas of Physiology. Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.
3. The Heart and Circulatory System. 2000. Pleasantville, NY: The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc.
4. Daniels, Patricia, et. al. 2007. Body: The Complete Human. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic Society.
5. Chilnick, Lawrence. 2008. Heart Disease: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed. Philadelphia, PA: Perseus Books Group.
6. Avraham, Regina. 2000. The Circulatory System. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House Publishers.
7. Davis, Goode P., et. al. 1981. The Heart: The Living Pump. Washington D.C.: U.S. News Books.