Endocardium: Definition & Function

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  • 0:00 What is the Endocardium?
  • 1:45 Functions of the Endocardium
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Virginia Rawls

Virginia has a master' degree in Education and a bachelors in Sports Medicine/athletic Training

In this lesson, we'll discuss the endocardium of the heart. We'll look at where the endocardium is located, what exactly it is, and the role it plays in the functionality of the heart.

What Is the Endocardium?

The anatomy of the heart can be very confusing. The heart is composed of many different components and all of these components are critical for you to know so that you understand how the heart works.

The endocardium is the inner lining of the heart. Now, the heart does have a few different linings associated with it, so to better understand where the endocardium is located, let's do a quick heart anatomy review.

The heart is part of the cardiovascular system. The cardiovascular system, sometimes called the circulatory system, is made up of the heart, and the arteries, veins, and capillaries that run throughout our body.

The outside of the heart is lined with a thin tissue called the pericardium. Under the pericardium, you have the fibrous pericardium and the serous pericardium. Beneath the serous pericardium is the epicardium. Under the epicardium is a thick muscle layer called the myocardium. Then finally we reach the thin, inner layer of the heart, which is the endocardium.

layers of the heart

The endocardium covers both of the atriums, both of the ventricles, and all of the valves in the heart. This very thin and delicate lining of the heart is made up of three layers:

  • The first layer contains the connective tissue and Purkinje fibers. The connective tissue helps the endocardium attach to the myocardium and the Purkinje fibers help to conduct electricity through the heart muscle.
  • The second layer contains a thin muscle layer and more connective tissue.
  • The third layer contains vascular endothelium which is made up of special cells that line the inside of the circulatory system.

Functions of the Endocardium

Even though the endocardium is a thin layer of tissue, it serves three huge functions for the cardiovascular system.

1. First, the endocardium provides a smooth surface for the inside of the heart. This smooth surface allows blood to freely flow along the tissues. This is very important. Without this layer, blood components could stick to the walls of the heart and cause damage to the tissues or even lead to blockages. The endocardium also helps keep the heart tissues from sticking together when it beats.

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