Chapter 1
Chapter 1

Cardiac Anatomy and Physiology

A knowledge of normal anatomy is fundamental to an understanding of both the normal function of the cardiovascular system and the disease processes affecting it. Familiarity with anatomical detail is essential for accurate auscultation and further studies such as echocardiography. A sound knowledge of the physiology of the circulation is required so that the effects of drugs and disease on the heart can be understood. A knowledge of the electrophysiology of the equine heart is essential for the application and interpretation of electrocardiography in this species, in which there are important differences from other species. The response of the cardiovascular system to exercise is an especially important consideration in an athletic species such as the horse.

In this chapter, the normal anatomy and physiology of the equine cardiovassystem are described, with reference to considerations which are of particular importance in this species.


1.1 The circulation

1.2 The structure of the heart

1.3 The peripheral cardiovascular system

1.4 Cardiac physiology

1.5 The principles of electrophysiology

1.6 The effects of exercise on the cardiovascular system