Heart Sounds

Heart sounds are present in every healthy person and occur during the heart action. During the physical examination with the stethoscope, the auscultation, possible damage to the heart valves and cardiac dysrhythmia can be detected. A total of two heart sounds are normally audible, in children and adolescents under certain circumstances up to four.

The so-called heart murmurs are to be distinguished from these. They always have a disease value and can, for example, provide indications of a heart valve abnormality. sdj

Heart Anatomy

Our heart is a muscular hollow organ and can be divided into a left and right half. Both left and right halves of the heart have two so-called cardiac cavities, the atrium (lat. Atrium) and the chamber (lat.

Ventricle). This results in a total of four cardiac cavities. Furthermore, we find four heart valves, which are essential for the orderly flow of blood within the heart and in the vessels near the heart. Thus, the ventricles and atria are each separated by a so-called sail valve: Due to their characteristic appearance, the valves between the ventricle and the large outflow tracts are called pocket valves: More about the anatomy of the heart can be found here.

  • Mitral valve between left chamber and left atrium
  • Tricuspid valve between right chamber and right atrium
  • Aortic valve between left chamber and aorta (“aorta”)
  • Pulmonary valve between right chamber and pulmonary trunk (“pulmonary artery”)

Heart function

In order to understand the origin of heart sounds, it is worth taking a brief look at how our heart works. Put simply, the organ can be regarded as a muscular pump: The left heart pumps oxygen-rich blood into the large body circulation, the right heart in turn pumps oxygen-poor blood into the small lung circulation. Functionally, both parts are linked together in such a way that the same amount of blood is always transported.

Low-oxygen blood flows from the superior and inferior vena cava into the right atrium. Through the open tricuspid valve, the blood reaches the right ventricle. From there it flows through the open pulmonary valve into the pulmonary arteries.

The oxygen-laden blood in the lung reaches the left atrium via the pulmonary veins and then flows through the open tricuspid valve into the left ventricle. Through the opened aortic valve, the blood is pumped into the aorta and from there into the whole body. During the contraction and expulsion phase, the blood flows from the chambers into the vessels near the heart.

To build up the necessary pressure, the heart muscle is tensed. This phase is called systole. Diastole, on the other hand, is the relaxation and filling phase. Both heart chambers then fill with blood from the atria.