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AUDIO: Dr. Lishan Aklog Talks About The Function Of The Heart

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Find out about the function of the heart by listening to Dr. Lishan Aklog on the EmpowHer podcast.

Dr. Aklog:
The heart is actually in many ways a simple top that are designed to pump blood through the body back into the lungs and then back to the body again. As a result many of us doctors who work on heart disease often consider ourselves sort of qualified plumbers in the sense because that is all we worked with.

The heart as a muscular organ has four chambers or rooms or cavities, that each have a specific room. You can actually divide the heart. It really functions as almost two separate pumps. One pump is a pump that pumps blood from the lungs with oxygen in it to the entire body and then the other half or the right heart of the lung takes blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs so it can get re-nourished with oxygen. So there is a left heart and a right heart so you can consider even though they are in one joint structure they have two functional parts to them. The heart itself is also a working organ and has to also receive oxygen itself so it has to be nourished just like the heart nourishing the rest of the body, it has to in the sense nourish itself. So there are arteries that come right off at the very beginning when the blood is being pumped out of the heart that immediately supply blood to itself. These are called the coronary arteries and so in the sense the heart is self-nourishing. It is nourishing itself with its own blood.

Another component of the heart that is important to know is that there are valves in the heart so blood flow through the heart and through the body is intended to go on one direction. You do not want the blood to go backwards. So just like any plumbing system or your car, they are valves within the heart that actually force them and prevent the blood from going backwards, so that they allow the heart to move things forward.

Institutional Affiliation

* Heart and Lung Institute / St. Joseph's Hospital & Medical Center


* Adult Cardiac Surgery


* Harvard College (A.B. 1985)
* Harvard Medical School (M.D. 1989)
* Brigham and Women's Hospital General Surgery Resident (1989-1996)
* Brigham and Women's/Boston Children's Hospital Cardiothoracic Resident (1996-1998)
* Harefield Hospital, London Senior Registrar (1998)
* L'Hopital Broussais, Paris Clinical Fellow (1999)
* AATS International Travelling Fellow (1998-1999)
* Assistant Professor, Brigham & Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School (1999-2001)
* Associate Chief, Cardiac Surgery, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York (2002-2006)
* Chief, CV Surgery/Chair, The CV Center, St. Joseph's Hosp & Med Center, Phoenix (2006-present)


* Mitral Valve Repair
* Beating Heart/Off-Pump Coronary Surgery
* Robotic Cardiac Surgery
* Aortic Root Surgery
* Pulmonary Embolectomy


Cardiothoracic Surgery Network

International Society for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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