Q:

What does the left ventricle do?

A:

The left ventricle is the main pumping chamber of the heart, and it is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood to the entire body, as stated by the American Heart Association. The human heart consists of four chambers: the right atrium, the right ventricle, the left atrium and the left ventricle. While each chamber has a unique function, they all work together to form a strong, hard-working pump.

Cleveland Clinic explains that a normal heart beats about 60 to 80 times per minute, pumping blood throughout the body. Blood initially enters the heart at the right atrium, which is the upper right chamber. This blood, which is low in oxygen, flows through the tricuspid valve and enters the right ventricle. From the right ventricle, the blood is pumped into the pulmonary arteries and is transported to the lungs, where it picks up oxygen. This oxygen-rich blood is returned to the left atrium by the pulmonary veins. The blood in the left atrium passes through the mitral valve and into the left ventricle, where it is pumped into the body's general circulation.

Left ventricular function can be determined by performing an ejection fraction test, most often using an echocardiogram. Cleveland Clinic explains that ejection fraction measures how much blood is pumped out of the left ventricle with each contraction. A normal ejection fraction ranges from 55 to 70 percent. A lower ejection fraction may indicate damage to the heart muscle and usually requires further evaluation.


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