Transportation in Animals and Plants

Heartbeat, Heart Rate and Pulse

How many of you are aware of your own heartbeat? Ever tried to hear it with the doctor’s stethoscope? How is heartbeat related to pulse? What is a pulse? In this chapter, we will discuss more the heartbeat, pulse and heart rate. Let us first start with a quick review of one of the most important components of the circulatory system, i.e. the heart.

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This is one of the most vital organs and is responsible for the sustenance of the human body. It is a small muscular organ that performs the basic task of pumping blood to the other organs in the body. The heart has four chambers called the right auricle, the right ventricle, the left auricle and the left ventricle.

The upper chambers are known as auricles or atrium. The lower chambers are known as ventricles. We have described the movement of blood through the heart in the flowchart below:

From the body → Right Auricle → Right Ventricle → Pulmonary Artery → Lungs → Pulmonary Vein → Left Auricle → Left Ventricle → To the body

Now that we have discussed the heart in details, let us look at the concepts of the heartbeat, pulse, and heart rate.

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When the heart is busy with pumping blood, the different chambers of the heart open and close, or contract and relax. Each time the chambers contract or relax, a thumping sound is produced. This is what is known as the heartbeat.

A single heartbeat denotes that a complete cycle of pumping blood is finished. Ideally, a normal human heart beats for 72 times in a minute. In each heartbeat, the heart pumps around 70 ml of blood. This way, the heart pumps around 5 liters of blood in a single minute! That is the beauty of the human body!

Heart Rate

The heart rate is nothing but the number of times your heart pumps blood in a minute. It is usually 72 beats per minute, as we just discussed. A normal heartbeat ensures a normal heart rate. The heart rate can fluctuate due to many medical or physical conditions.

Usually, after serious exercise or walking, your heart rate tends to increase as the heart tries to pump more blood to make up for the demand of lost oxygen.


Pulses are similar sounds or vibrations like the heartbeat that can be felt at other locations of the human body. The main reason why pulse can be felt is that of the blood rushing through our veins. Some common places where you can calculate the pulse of an individual include knees, arms, wrist, neck, ankle etc.


This helps in giving an idea of your heartbeat. The pulse is measured by the help of a stethoscope. A stethoscope is a medical instrument that is used to measure the heartbeat and pulse. It has a diaphragm, a long rubber tube, and two earpieces.

Question For You

Q1. Which organ is responsible for pumping blood to your body?
Ans: Heart

Q2. How many times does the normal heartbeat in a minute?
Ans: 72 times

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