8.12. Revision Tips


The heart at the centre of the issue
Remember that the heart lies in the middle mediastinum. The great vessels leave at the top of the heart, so most are found in the superior mediastinum. The descending aorta is initially directed backwards, so it lies in the posterior mediastinum, along with the oesophagus. Not much lies in front of the heart, apart from ligaments and the thymus gland (which atrophies in later life anyway!)

Confusing arteries and veins
Arteries ALWAYS travel AWAY from the heart, VEINS always VEER BACK to the heart. This naming rule even applies to the great vessels of the heart. The pulmonary ARTERIES travel AWAY from the heart and the pulmonary VEINS VEER back to the heart.

The heart is not basic...
The heart does not lie on its base, as a lot of people would assume. The base faces posteriorly, towards the vertebral column. The 'bottom' of the heart (the inferior surface) is actually referred to as the diaphragmatic surface.

The serous pericardium is very similar to the pleural cavity in terms of structure. In fact, they are both formed from the same structure, called the intraembryonic coelom.

Nerves supplying the pericardium
As with the pleura, the visceral pericardium is sensitive to stretch only, while the parietal pericardium is sensitive to pain, temperature and pressure.

Right coronary artery
The right coronary artery, in 70% of people, gives rise to the posterior interventricular artery. So, in most cases, the RCA gives rise to the posterior interventricular artery and the LCA gives rise to the anterior interventricular artery.

The difference between the fossa ovalis and foramen ovale
The foramen ovale is present in the fetus but just after birth it closes over to leave the remnant ‘fingerprint-like’ impression called the fossa ovalis in both the left and right atria.

Tricuspid or bicuspid?
The tRicuspid valve is on the Right, so the bicuspid must be on the left.