Cardiac Anatomy & Physiology > Overview
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Anatomy and physiology are important elements in comprehending the impact a failing heart has on our patients, both physically and mentally. This module explores the cardiac cycle in detail, describing how the cycle and the physical mechnisms work. The relationship between the heart and the nervous system and the functions of heart muscle tissue at the cellular level are explained as well.

Learning Objectives

After successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Discuss the primary functions of the heart
  • Describe the layers of the heart
  • Understand the function of all heart valves
  • Describe the conduction system of the heart
  • Describe the coronary circulation in detail
  • Explain the phases of the cardiac cycle
  • Explain the relationship between the phases of the cardiac cycle and the electrical system of the heart
  • Demonstrate an understanding of Starling’s Law of the Heart
  • Discuss the role of the central nervous system in the cardiac system
  • Understand the role of the sympathetic system
  • Understand the role of the parasympathetic system
  • Discuss the role of alpha and beta receptors
  • Discuss the function of cell components such as sarcoplasmic reticulum and sarcolema
  • Discuss the role of sodium and potassium pumps (channels)
  • Understand the role of the action potential and depolarization


Urden, L.D., Stacy, K.M., & Lough, M.E. (2018). Critical Care Nursing Diagnosis and Management. (8th ed). Boston: Mosby.

Woods, S., Sivarajan Frochlicher, E. and Underhill Motzer, S. (2000). Cardiac Nursing (4 th ed). Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott.

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