Hydraulic forces power the heart like car brakes
Swedish researchers have discovered that the human heart is filled with blood by hydraulic forces, similar to the way hydraulic brakes work in a car. The research was published online in the Scientific Reports journal.
The way blood flows into the ventricles of the heart during filling are only slightly understood by scientists. The protein titian in the heart muscles acts like a spring with elastic energy when the heart fills.
Hydraulic force is the pressure a liquid creates on a specific area. The same force is applied by blood pressure in the body and heart. When the heart fills, the valve between the atrium and the ventricle opens and equalizes the pressure of the blood in both chambers.
Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet and KTH Royal Institute of Technology used cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging to measure the sizes of both chambers in healthy patients when the heart filled up. The atrium was smaller during the filling process.
“Although this might seem simple and obvious, the impact of the hydraulic force on the heart’s filling pattern has been overlooked,” Dr. Martin Ugander, an associate professor and leader of a research group in clinical physiology at Karolinska Institutet, said in a news release. “Our observation is exciting since it can lead to new types of therapies for heart failure involving trying to reduce the size of the atrium.”