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HeartTo the Heart of the Matter:

The Cardiovascular System in ASL and English

with Paul Buttenhoff and Kendall Kail
Interpretations by Patty McCutcheon

Produced by Todd Tourville

An exploration of the cardiovascular system with lectures in both spoken English and ASL, this resource is an excellent opportunity for interpreters to develop their understanding of anatomy and practice their skills for both academic and clinical settings.

Cardiovascular System – Technical Lecture – ASL

In approaching the instructor and asking what today’s class will focus on, you receive this response:

“Today we’ll be discussing the Cardiovascular System, one of the primary systems for transportation in your body. We’ll talk first about some tissues that we find then a little more specifically about the heart and lastly we’ll talk about function.”

Kendall Kail – ASL

Outline for ASL Lecture

Cardiovascular System

  • 1 of 12 major organ systems in the body.
  • Glucose travels though body.
  • Oxygen travels to brain.
  • CV responsibility.
  • 2 basic components are: heart “pump” and hollow tubes “carry blood”.

What is the heart made of?

  • All organs made of small living units called cells.
  • Heart made of unique cardiac muscle cells.
  • Several properties make CMC unique
  • autorhythmic, can generate own action without relying on brain or spinal cord.
    • IE: If heart is removed during a heart transplant operation, heart still beats.
  • Cardiovascular cells are able to stimulate adjacent cells, IE: to activate the millions of cells in the heart, only necessary to stimulate 2 or 3 cells.
  • Heart is a round organ
  • size of a grapefruit, contains 4 hollow spaces.
  • Walls made of cardiovascular muscle cells, spaces called atria and ventricles.
  • Heart’s primary function: receive deoxygenated blood that’s flowing from brain or pancreas or little toes.
  • Heart will send blood to lungs to be saturated with oxygen. Blood returns to the heart. Heart sends oxygenated blood to all tissue in the body.
  • Deoxygenated blood enters R side of heart into the small upper chamber called the right atrium. Deoxygenated blood flows from RA through a valve into the R ventricle.
    • Valves ensure blood travels in one direction. Deoxygenated blood flows to lungs through pulmonary trunk (essentially anartery – “A” for away).
    • Pulmonary artery carries blood to lungs where blood will circulate in lung tissue and saturate with oxygen.
  • Blood spends a few minutes in the lungs
    • returns to the left side of the heart through the left atrium.
    • Blood goes through the pulmonary vein
    • * blood that returns to left atrium is the most oxygenated blood you will find in the body.
    • Blood in LAcpumps down through another valve called the bicuspid or mitral valve. Then enters the biggest chamber of the heart – left ventricle.
    • Valves experience great pressure. Blood can flow back through the valve – can be dangerous – called heart murmur.
    • LV has the most muscle of any chamber, responsible for pumping blood out to the entire body.
    • 5 trillion cells rely the on ability of the LV to contract, when it contracts, blood goes through a small valve into largest blood vessel called the Aorta.
    • Aorta send branches to the brain, to the thoracic cavity, and to the legs.
    • Aorta is largest artery in the body.
    • 4 chambers work together to pump blood.
    • If A and V decided to contract independently – blood flow would be ineffective.
    • Cells in the heart are controlled by the cardiac conduction system.
    • CCS function – carry information. Does not contract.
    • Primary controller of heart function is the sinoatrial node.
    • SA node is sometimes called the pacemaker.- Found where? Upper right corner of heart.
    • Anode generates impulses.
    • When SA node fires or generates impulses, the atriums contract.
    • When RAcontracts blood goes to the RV, LA contracts blood goes to the LV.
    • Blood flows from top of heart to bottom of heart.
  • A split second later, small delay occurs, caused by insulating material.
    • Heart must work effectively to contract as 2 separate units, top unit and bottom unit.
    • Spread of impulses from atria to ventricles is delayed a bit.
    • Insulating material between the top half of heart and the bottom half of the heart prevents impulses from traveling.
    • In-order for the cells of the ventricles to activate they must receive a signal from the atrioventricular node.
    • A small group of cells collect the impulses from the pacemaker and direct impulses down to the ventricles.
    • AV node sends impulses to atrioventricular bundle, if this does not happen correctly then get what is called branch bundleblock and heart cannot be stimulated.
  • AV bundle, send impulses to the bottom of the ventricles through small microscopic fibers called Purkinje fibers.
    • SAnode and AV node set the tone. Impulses are collected by the AV bundle then delivered to the Purkinje fibers.
    • 2 separate events, atrial contraction then ventricular contraction. Allows blood to move very effectively in 1-way circuit.
    • Fact, heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood in that way every day.
    • Arteries carry blood away from heart. Many different sizes of vessels. Largest tubes = arteries, become smaller and are called arterioles.
    • Smallest pathways are called capillaries. Found in sites of exchange.
    • Capillaries exchange wastes and nutrients in all tissues of the body.
  • Review – away from heart, arteries and arterioles. Arterioles then branch to form capillaries – exchange occurs merge with venules, which become veins and go back to the heart.
    • One of unique thing about blood vessel, they have a lot of muscle tissue.
    • They have ability to change size. For example: more blood emergency, less blood injury.
    • Smooth muscle found in tissues (same as cardiac cells) and is non-voluntary and autorhythmic.
    • Tubes that carry blood from heart and to heart can increase or decrease in size.
    • Capillaries are extremely small and delicate: consisting only of one thin layer of cells.
    • Can be damaged very easily.
    • Diffusion defined – movement of materials from high concentration area to low concentration area. Blood exchangesCO2/oxygen through capillaries.
    • 2 basic components: heart with 4 chambers working together to pump blood.
    • Blood leaves heart. Its arteries and arterioles carry blood to tissues. Capillaries are unique, always found at sites of waste exchange. Last we have venules, become veins to carry blood up to the heart.
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