Pericardium And Heart Question And Answers

Pericardium And Heart Question And Answers

Question 1. Write a short note on pericardium.


  • It is a firoserous sac, which surrounds the heart and the root of great vessels
  • Located in the middle mediastinum
  • It has two parts:
  1. Fibrous pericardium: Th outer layer of pericardium formed by tough connective tissue
  2. Serous pericardium: The inner layer, it is subdivided into:
    • Parietal layer
    • Visceral layer.

Pericardium Contents

  • Heart
  • Great vessels: Ascending aorta, pulmonary trunk, superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, and pulmonary veins.

Pericardium And Heart layers Of Pericardium

Fibrous Pericardium

  • It is a cone-shaped sac
  • It has an:
    • Apex
    • Blunt
    • Continuous with the adventitia of great vessels
    • Lies at the level of the sternal angle
    • Base
      • Broad
      • Attached with the central tendon of diaphragm

Pericardium Relations:

  • Anteriorly: Attached to the sternum through sternopericardial ligaments (This attachment helps to retain the position of heart in the thoracic cavity)
  • Posteriorly: Principal bronchi, esophagus, descending thoracic aorta
    • Blood supply: Pericardiophrenic vessels
    • Nerve supply: Phrenic nerves.

Serous Pericardium: The inner layer. It has two parts:

  1. Parietal layer
    • It is fused with inner surface of fibrous pericardium
    • It is continuous with a visceral layer around the roots of great vessels
  2. Visceral layer (Epicardium)
    • It is fused with the heart
    • Deficient only at the cardiac grooves, where it is separated from the heart by the cardiac blood vessels.

Read And Learn More: Anatomy Question And Answers 

Pericardial Cavity

  • It is a narrow space formed between fibrous and serous pericardium
  • Capacity—300 ml
  • It contains a small amount of serous fluid
  • This serous fluid acts as a lubricant, which lubricates the opposed surfaces of fibrous and serous pericardium.
  • The arterial supply of fibrous pericardium and the parietal layer of the serous pericardium is by branches of:
    • Internal thoracic artery
    • Musculophrenic artery
    • Descending thoracic aorta
  • The visceral layer of the serous pericardium is supplied by coronary arteries
  • Venous drainage
    • Veins drain into:
      • Azygos system of veins
      • Internal thoracic vein
    • Nerve supply:
      • Fibrous pericardium and parietal pericardium:
      • Phrenic nerve (sensitive to pain)
      • Visceral pericardium: Autonomic nerves of the heart (insensitive to pain).

Pericardium Applied Anatomy

  • Pain sensation from the parietal pericardium is carried by somatic afferent fiers of phrenic nerves, so pain during pericarditis or any other irritation to the pericardium is referred to:
    • Supraclavicular region of shoulder
    • Lateral part of the neck
  • Pericardial effusion: Accumulation of flid in the pericardial sac.

Question 2. What are sinuses of the pericardium and what is its use?

Sinuses of Pericardium: The visceral layer of serous pericardium/epicardium is arranged at the roots of great vessels in the form of two tubes:

  1. Arterial tube: Arterial tube encloses the pulmonary trunk and ascending aorta
  2. Venous tube: Venous tube encloses the superior and inferior vena cava and pulmonary veins.

Pericardium And Heart Relationship Of The Developing Heart To The Pericardial Sac

Transverse Sinus

  • There is a horizontal passage present between arterial and venous end of the heart tubes, known as transverse sinus
  • Located on the upper part of posterior surface of the heart
  • It is a tubular recess between the right and left sides of the pericardial cavity posteriorly

Transverse Sinus Boundaries:

  • Anteriorly: Ascending aorta, pulmonary trunk
  • Posteriorly: Superior vena cava, pulmonary veins
  • Inferiorly: Upper surface of left atrium
  • Superiorly: Bifurcation of the pulmonary trunk
  • On each side: Opens into the pericardial cavity.

Oblique Sinus

  • It is a space located on the posterior surface of heart between the venous tubes of four pulmonary veins
  • It is called as a cul de sac (a passage with access only at one end) since it is closed on all sides except inferiorly
  • It lies behind the left atrium

Oblique Sinus Boundaries:

  • Anteriorly: Left atrium
  • Posteriorly: Parietal pericardium
  • Right side: Right pulmonary veins and inferior vena cava
  • Left side: Left pulmonary vein
  • Superiorly: Upper margin of left atrium
    • Presence of an oblique sinus allows free pulsation of left atrium.

Sinuses Applied Anatomy

During cardiac surgery, the transverse sinus provides the space to clamp the ascending aorta and pulmonary trunk, in order to insert tubes of heart­lung machines.

Question 3. Describe the external features of heart.

External Features of Heart

  • Heart is a conical hollow muscular pump
  • Structurally and functionally it consists of two halvesright and left
  • Each half has an atria and ventricle, thus it has 4 chambers.

Pericardium And Heart Schematic Transverse Section Through The Heart To Show Various Chambers

Pericardium And Heart Sternocostal Surface Of The Heart In Which The Aorta And Puilmonary Trunk Have Been Cut Just Above Their Origins To Show Left Atrium Is Hidden

Pericardium And Heart Schematic Representation Of Vertical Section In An Oblique Plane Passing Through The Left Half Of The Heart

External Features of Heart Margins

  • Right margin: Formed by the rounded surface of right atrium
  • Left margin: Formed by the rounded surface of left ventricle.

External Features of Heart Surfaces

  1. Anterior/sternocostal surface
  2. Posterior surface/base
  3. Right and left surface
  4. Diaphragmatic surface/inferior surface.

1. Anterior/Sternocostal Surface

  • Anterior/Sternocostal Surface Formed by:
    • Right atrium
    • Right ventricle
    • Left ventricle (minor contribution)
  • The right atrium and ventricle are separated from each other by the atrioventricular groove or the coronary sulcus (lodges the coronary artery)
  • Ventricles are separated anteriorly by the anterior interventricular groove
  • The sternocostal surface is separated from the diaphragmatic surface by a sharp border (Inferior border)
  • The point where the inferior border meets the left border is known as the apex
  • Upper border is formed by the left atrium.

2. Posterior Surface/Base

  • Posterior Surface/Base Formed by:
    • Left atrium
    • Posterior part of right atrium (small contribution).

3. Diaphragmatic Surface

  • Diaphragmatic Surface Formed by:
    • Left ventricle (2/3rd contribution)
    • Right ventricle (1/3rd contribution)
    • Two ventricles are separated by the posterior interventricular groove.

Anterior Part of Coronary Sulcus

  • Right half: It is easily visible on the sternocostal surface
    • Course: Runs downwards and to the right between right atrium and right ventricle
  • Left half: Its view is hidden by aorta and pulmonary trunk.

Posterior Part of Coronary Sulcus

Lies in the diaphragmatic surface at the junction of the right ventricle and right atrium and left ventricle and left atrium.

Course of Interventricular Grooves

Pericardium And Heart Course Of interventricular Grooves

Question 4. Write a note on development of heart tube.

Development of Heart Tube

Pericardium And Heart Development Of Heart Tube

  • Mesodermal in origin
  • During 3rd week angioblastic cords are formed from intraembryonic mesoderm
  • Angioblastic cords are paired endothelial strands formed in cardiogenic area
  • Cords undergo canalization and form heart tubes
  • Firstly heart is right and left endothelial tubes which fuse together to form a single tube
  • Single tube undergoes dilatation separated by constrictions from top to bottom
  • These dilatations from above to below are later identified as:
  • Bulbus cordis has three parts:
    1. Truncus arteriosus: Distal 1/3rd part, forms ascending aorta and pulmonary trunk. It is continuous with the aortic sac distally.
    2. Conus: Middle 1/3rd, forms outflow tracts of ventricles
    3. The proximal 1/3rd part forms primitive right ventricle
  • The primitive ventricle, forms the trabeculated part of left ventricle
  • Primitive atrium
  • Sinus venous:
    • Sinus venous has prolongations at caudal end called right and left horns
    • Each horn is joined by a vitelline vein, umbilical vein, and common cardinal vein.

Question 5. Explain in detail the external and internal features of the right atrium.

Features of Right Atrium

  • Right upper chamber of the heart
  • It receives venous blood mainly from:
    • Superior vena cava
    • Inferior vena cava
    • Coronary sinus
  • It pumps blood into right ventricle through the tricuspid valve
  • Tricuspid opening is guarded by the tricuspid valve or atrioventricular valve
  • Right atrium forms:
    • Sternocostal surface of heart
    • Base of heart
    • Right border
    • A portion of the upper border.

Pericardium And Heart Right Atrium Viewd From The Right Side After Cutting Its Wall Along Its Upper, Anterior And Inferior Margins, And Turning The Flap Backwards

External Features Of Right Atrium

  • Right atrium is a vertically elongated chamber
  • An ear-like projection arises from an anterosuperior part of right atrium, known as the right auricle
  • The right auricle has a notched margin and it covers ascending aorta and infundibulum of right ventricle
  • Interior of right auricle is sponge-like
  • Right atrium receives superior vena cava at its upper end and inferior vena cava at its lower end
  • On the right border of atrium, a sulcus passes from the superior vena cava to inferior vena cava, known as sulcus terminalis
  • Upper part of this sulcus lodges the SA node
  • Sulcus terminalis is formed by an internal muscular ridge known as crista terminalis.

Internal Features Of Right Atrium: Interior of the heart can be divided into two parts:

  1. Sinus venarum/Smooth posterior part: Derived from right horn of sinus venosus
  2. Atrium proper/Rough anterior part: Derived from primitive atrial chamber.
  • Sinus venarum/Smooth posterior part
    • Superior vena cava opens at its upper end and inferior vena cava at its lower end
    • Opening of inferior vena cava is bounded by a semilunar valve called as eustachian valve/valve of inferior vena cava
    • It is actually rudimentary
    • In embryonic life it transmits blood directly from inferior vena cava to left atrium through foramen ovale
    • Opening for coronary sinus is present between openings of inferior vena cava and right atrioventricular orifice, which is also guarded by a valve known as valve of the coronary sinus
    • Venae cordis minimi opens into right atrium through numerous small openings in the wall of atrium.
  • Atrium proper/rough anterior part
    • Also called as the pectinate part
    • It contains the right auricle
    • Its wall shows the presence of transversely running muscular ridges called the musculi pectinate
    • Ridges arise from the crista terminalis, runs forward and downward towards the a­v orifice (teeth of a comb-like appearance)
    • Some of them enter the right auricle and forms a network.

Tributaries Of Right Atrium

  • Superior vena cava
  • Inferior vena cava
  • Coronary sinus
    • Anterior cardiac veins
    • Venae cordis minimi
    • Right marginal vein

Question 6. From where does the right atrium develop?

Development of Right Atrium

  • Mainly formed from the right half of primitive atrium
  • Rough anterior part develops from right horn of sinus venosus
  • Sinus venous and right half of the atrioventricular canal get absorbed into right atrium
  • The smooth posterior part along with right auricle develops from the primitive atrium.

Question 7. What are the features of the interatrial septum and how is it formed?

Interatrial Septum

  • It is derived from septum primum and secundum
  • When looked from right atrium, this septum shows some gross features:
    • Fossa ovalis
      • Oval depression on the lower part
      • Represents the site of embryonic septum primum
    • Annulus ovalis/limbus fossa ovalis
      • Prominent margin of fossa ovalis
      • Represents lower curved edge of septum secundum.

Development of Interatrial Septum

Pericardium And Heart Development Interatrial Septum

  • It develops from two septa (septum primum and septum secundum) arising from the roof of the atrial chamber
  • Septum primum arise from roof of atrial chamber and grows downward towards the septum intermedium
  • Initially, there will be a gap between septum primum and septum intermedium known as foramen primum
  • Finally, septum primum fuses with septum intermedium
  • Before the fusion, the upper part of septum primum breaks down leaving a free upper edge
  • And a new foramen is created known as foramen secundum
  • Another septum called septum secundum starts to grow from the right of the septum primum, towards the septum intermedium
  • Septum secundum overlaps the upper margin of septum primum, creating an oblique passage between septum primum and secundum called as foramen ovale
  • In fetal life, foramen ovale allows the blood to flow from right to left atrium
  • Finally, by the fusion of septum secundum and septum primum, the foramen ovale is obliterated
  • The upper and lower half of the interatrial septum is formed by septum secundum and primum respectively.

Question 8. Write briefly about the gross features of the left atrium.

Gross Features

  • Quadrangular shaped thin walled cavity
  • Situated posteriorly
  • Also contains the left auricle
  • It forms the part of:
    • Upper border of heart
    • The sternocostal surface of heart
    • Left surface and left border
    • Left 2/3rd of the base of heart.

Internal Features Of Left Atrium

  • Most of the wall is smooth, this part derived from absorbed pulmonary veins
  • Musculi pectinate only present in the left auricle, derived from the primitive atrial chamber of the heart tube
  • It receives 4 pulmonary veins in its upper lateral part
  • Anteroinferiorly, the left atrium opens into left ventricle through left atrioventricular orifice
  • This orifice is guarded by the mitral valve.

Question 9. What are the similarities and differences between right and left ventricles?

Pericardium And Heart Differences Between Right And Left Ventricle

Question 10. Write briefly on the valves of the heart.

Heart Valves

  • Valves of aortic orifices: Tricuspid and mitral valve (Bicuspid valve)
  • Valves of pulmonary and aortic valves/semilunar valves: Pulmonary valve and aortic valve

Tricuspid Valve Of Heart: Made up of three cusps attached to fibrous ring

  • Anterior cusp: Attached to the superolateral part of the margin of the right AV orifice
  • Posterior cusp: Attached to the inferolateral part of the margin
  • Septal cusp: Attached to the medial margin

Bicuspid value Of Heart: Made up of two cusps attached to fibrous ring

  • Anterior cusps: Attached to upper right part of the margin of left AV orifice
  • Posterior cusp: Attached to the lower left part of margin of the left AV orifice

Free margins and ventricular surfaces of cusps are connected to papillary muscles through chordae tendineae.

Pulmonary Orifice Of Heart 

  • Longer 3 cm in diameter
  • Location: Superior and left to the tricuspid orifie (aortic orifie intervenes between pulmonary orifie and tricuspid orifie)
  • Guarded by pulmonary valve
  • Has three semilunar cusps:
    • Cusps are triangular in shape
    • Made up of double fold of endocardium with firous tissue enclosed in it
    • Has two free margins
    • Free margins meet at the apex of the cusp

Aortic orifice Of Heart

  • Smaller, 2.5 cm in diameter
  • Location: Anterior and right to mitral orifie
  • Guarded by aortic valve
  • Same

Question 11. Write a note on the interventricular septum.

Interventricular Septum

  • Separates right and left ventricle
  • The position corresponds to anterior and inferior interventricular grooves
  • Right side is convex, it bulges into right ventricle
  • Right side of the septum is directed anteriorly and to the right, the left side is directed backward and to the left
  • Right and left AV orifices are separated by the posterosuperior border of the septum
  • The septum is thick and muscular, except at a small area near the posterior margin, where it is membranous
  • The septal cusp of the tricuspid valve is attached to the membranous part and separates the septum into:
    • Anterior part: Separating right and left ventricle
    • Posterior part: Separating left ventricle from right atrium.

Interventricular Septum Applied Anatomy

  • Fallot’s Tetralogy Congenital condition is characterized by:
    • Stenosis of the pulmonary trunk
    • Large ventricular septal defect
    • Overriding of aortic orifice above VSD
    • Right ventricular hypertrophy due to high BP in RV
    • Leading to right to left shunt of blood through VSD, results in severe cyanosis.

Question 12. Describe in detail the blood supply of the heart. What is cardiac dominance?

Blood Supply of Heart

  • Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart
  • There are two of them:
    1. Right coronary artery
    2. Left coronary artery
  • Originate from ascending aorta
  • Run in the coronary sulcus
  • They can be called as the largest vasa vasorum if we consider heart as modified blood vessel
  • The pattern of branching of coronary arteries shows variation in different individuals.

Pericardium And Heart Coronary Arteries And Their Interventricular Branches

Pericardium And Heart Distribution Of The Right Coronary Artery

Pericardium And Heart Distribution Of The Left Coronary Artery

The most common pattern is described below:

Pericardium And Heart Right And Left Coronary Artery

Pericardium And Heart Right And Left Coronary Artery-1

Branches of Coronary Arteries

Pericardium And Heart Branches Of Coronary Arteries

Areas of Distribution

Pericardium And Heart Bllod Supply Of Heart Areas Of Distribution

Cardiac Dominance

  • Normally, in 90% of the cases the right coronary artery gives of the posterior interventricular branch, such hearts are called right dominant heart
  • But in 10% of the population, left coronary artery gives of the posterior interventricular branch, such hearts are called left dominant heart.

Cardiac Dominance Applied Anatomy

  • Left coronary artery is more prone to blocks, so in left-dominant individuals blocks may be fatal
  • Coronary angiography: Coronary arteries and their branches are visualized by this technique, to determine the sites of narrowing.

Question 13. Write a short note on the veins of the heart.

Pericardium And Heart Posteroinferior View Showing Veins Of heart

Veins Of The Heart Thy are namely:

Coronary sinus, Great cardiac vein, middle cardiac vein, small cardiac vein, right marginal vein, an oblique vein of left atrium, a posterior vein of left ventricle, anterior cardiac vein, and venae cordis minimi.

1. Veins Of The Heart Coronary Sinus

  • Largest vein of the heart
  • 3 cm long
  • Most of the veins draining the heart opens into coronary sinus
  • Located in the left posterior coronary sulcus
  • Its right end opens into the posterior wall of right atrium
    • Tributaries:
      • Great cardiac vein
      • Small cardiac vein
      • Middle cardiac vein
      • Posterior vein of left ventricle
      • Oblique vein of left atrium
      • Right marginal vein (sometimes).

Great cardiac vein

  • Seen mainly on the sternocostal surface
  • It ascends in the anterior interventricular groove, parallel to the anterior interventricular branch of left coronary artery

Pericardium And Heart Bllod Supply Of heart Corona Sinus

Small cardiac vein:

  • It runs in the right posterior coronary sulcus, accompanying right coronary artery
  • Opens into the right end of coronary sinus.

Middle cardiac vein:

  • Begins near the apex of heart
  • Runs backward on the diaphragmatic surface
  • It lies in the posterior interventricular groove accompanying posterior interventricular branch of right coronary artery
  • Opens into middle part of coronary sinus.

Posterior vein of left ventricle:

  • Runs backward on the diaphragmatic surface of ventricle
  • Opens into middle of the coronary sinus.

Oblique vein of left atrium:

  • Derived from left common cardinal vein
  • Runs in the posterior surface of left atrium
  • Opens into left end of coronary sinus.

Right marginal vein: Opens into coronary sinus or into small cardiac vein.

2. Anterior Cardiac Vein

  • 3 or 4 in number
  • Runs parallel to each other on the anterior wall of right ventricle
  • Opens through anterior wall of right atrium.

3. Venae Cordis Minimi

  • Smallest cardiac vein or Thbesian vein
  • Present in all chambers of heart
  • More on the right side
  • Drain directly into chambers of heart.

Quetsion 14. What are cardiac plexuses?

Cardiac Plexuses

  • Heart has both sympathetic and parasympathetic supply
  • Sympathetic fibers:
    • Derived from upper 4–5 thoracic spinal segments
    • Cardioacceleratory (increase HR)
    • Also dilates coronary arteries.

Pericardium And Heart Superficial And Deep Cardiac Plexuses

  • Parasympathetic fibers:
    • Derived from the vagus nerve
    • Cardioinhibitory
    • Constricts coronary arteries.
  • Both sympathetic and parasympathetic fibers supply heart through superficial and deep cardiac plexus
  • Branches from the cardiac plexus run along the coronary arteries and supply the myocardium.

Pericardium And Heart Differences Between Superficial Cardiac And Deep Cardiac Plexus

Question 15. What is the lymphatic drainage of heart?

Heart Drainage

  • Lymphatics from the heart accompany coronary arteries
  • Forms two trunks:
    • Right trunk, drains into brachiocephalic nodes
    • Left trunk, drains into inferior tracheobronchial nodes.

Question 16. Write briefly on the conduction system of heart.

Conduction System

Pericardium And Heart Conduction System Of Heart

  1. Right bundle branch → Pass through the right side of the interventricular septum → Reaches the right ventricle → Divides into Purkinje fibers
  2. Left bundle branch → Pass through left side of the interventricular septum → Reaches the left ventricle→ Divides into Purkinje fibers.

Question 17. Draw a flowchart depicting fetal circulation.

Pericardium And Heart Fetal Circulation Flowchart

Pericardium And Heart Fetal Circulation

Pericardium And Heart Multiple Choice Questions

Question 1. The only part of the heart not covered by serous pericardium is:

  1. The posterior wall of the left atrium
  2. Right wall of the oblique sinus
  3. Infundibulum of the pulmonary trunk
  4. Floor of the transverse sinus

Answer: 4. Floor of the transverse sinus

Question 2. Which of the following does not open into the right atrium?

  1. Anterior cardiac vein
  2. Small cardiac vein
  3. Coronary sinus
  4. Venae cordis minimi

Answer: 2. Small cardiac vein

Question 3. Th apex of the heart is:

  1. Entirely formed by the left ventricle
  2. Formed by the right ventricle
  3. Greater part by right ventricle
  4. The greater part formed by the left ventricle

Answer: 1. Entirely formed by the left ventricle

Question 4. All the following openings in the right atrium are guarded by valves except:

  1. Coronary sinus
  2. Superior vena cava
  3. Inferior vena cava
  4. Atrioventricular opening

Answer: 2. Superior vena cava

Question 5. The atrioventricular node lies at:

  1. Membranous interventricular septum
  2. Crista terminalis
  3. Interatrial septum
  4. Muscular interventricular septum

Answer: 3. Interatrial septum


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