50 facts about the heart that you don’t know... possibly.


The heart. Undeniably the most important organ in the human body, but what do you know and what don’t you know about the beating muscle that keeps working even when we’re resting?

Here's our top 50 facts about the heart that you don't know... probably.




  1. Of all the hearts in the world, the Blue Whale’s is the largest – weighing in at 1,500 pounds
  2. Your heart is about the size of your two hands clasped together
  3. If you’re a child, your heart is about the same size as your fist
  4. Your heart beats 100,000 times a day
  5. Regular exercise is the single most important key to heart health
  6. Heart disease is your single greatest health threat
  7. The ‘thump-thump’ of a heart beat is the sound made by the four valves of the heart closing
  8. Each minute your heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood around the body
  9. The right side of the heart pumps blood into your lungs, the left side pumps it back into your body
  10. Heart cancer is very rare, because heart cells stop dividing early in life
  11. A woman’s average heartbeat is faster than a man’s by almost 8 beats a minute
  12. Your heart pumps about 1 million barrels of blood during an average lifetime – enough to fill more than 3 super tankers
  13. A kitchen faucet would need to be turned on all the way for at least 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime
  14. Because the heart has its own electrical impulse, it can continue to beat even when separated from the body – as long as it has an adequate supply of oxygen
  15. The heart begins beating at four weeks after conception
  16. The heart of an average man beats approximately 70 times a minute
  17. The heart of an average woman beats approximately 78 times a minute
  18. 75 trillion cells in the body receive blood from the heart – only the corneas don’t
  19. Research has indicated that owning a cat can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by more than a third
  20. Your heartbeat changes and mimics the music you listen to
  21. Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart
  22. Vegetarians are 19% less likely to die from heart disease, a study found
  23. Eating dark chocolate every day reduces the risk of heart disease by one-third
  24. The human heart is not on the left hand side of the body, it’s in the middle
  25. The heart has the ability to beat over 3 billion times in a person’s lifetime
  26. The heart pumps out 2 ounces of blood at every heartbeat
  27. Heart break can be literal, in a recent study of nearly 2000 heart attack survivors – attacks were far more likely to happen soon after the death of a family member or close friend than other times
  28. Coffee drinkers are less likely to be hospitalized or worried about heart rhythm disturbances, even though the caffeine in coffee can make the heart beat faster
  29. A sneeze stops the heart? Simple a myth!
  30. The fetal heart is approximately twice as fast as an adult’s, at about 150 beats per minute, by the time a fetus is 12 weeks old, it’s heart pumps an amazing 60 pints of blood a day
  31. Approximately 5% of blood supplies the heart, 15-20% goes to the brain and central nervous system, and 22% goes to the kidneys
  32. Early Egyptians believed that the heart and other major organs had wills of their own and would move around inside the body
  33. Plato theorised that reasoning originated with the brain, but that passions originated in the ‘fiery’ heart
  34. The term ‘heartfelt’ originated from Aristotle’s philosophy that the heart collected sensory input from the peripheral organs through the blood vessels
  35. Prolonged lack of sleep can cause irregular jumping heartbeats also known as Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs)
  36. Some heavy snorers may have a condition called Obtrusive Sleep Apnea (OSA) which can negatively affect the heart
  37. Drug use, particularly cocaine, affects the heart’s electrical activity and causes spasm of the arteries, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke, even in healthy people
  38. Galen of Pergamum, who was a prominent surgeon to Roman gladiators, demonstrated that blood, not air, filled arteries – as Hippocrates had concluded, way back when
  39. ‘Atrium’ is latin for ‘entrance hall’ and ‘ventricle’ is latin for ‘little belly’
  40. Physician Erasistratus of Chios (304-250 B.C.) was the first person to discover that the heart functioned as a natural pump
  41. Grab a tennis ball and squeeze it tightly, that’s how hard the beating heart works to pump blood around the body
  42. In 1903, physiologist Willem Einthoven (1860-1927) invented the electrocardiograph, which measures the electric current which flows through the heart
  43. The walls of the heart’s left atrium are three times thicker than the right atrium
  44. The human heart is not ‘heart shaped’, in fact a cow’s heart is closer to the heart shape we use to indicate the heart
  45. A normal heart valve is about the same size of a 50cent piece
  46. The first heart pacemakers plugged into a wall socket, you couldn’t go very far!
  47. Every day, your heart creates enough energy to drive a truck for 20 miles (32KM for our American friends)
  48. Worldwide, 17.3 million people die each year from heart disease or stroke, which accounts for 31% of all deaths
  49. When the body is resting, it takes just 6 seconds for blood to travel from the heart to the lungs and back – and only 8 seconds for it to go to the brain and back
  50. Happiness and a strong sense of emotional vitality helps lower your risk of heart disease

If you would like to learn more about the heart, cardiac arrest, defibrillators and everything in between, our FAQ page is packed full of useful information whilst our friendly and impartial defibshop team are always on hand to help.

You can contact the team on 0845 071 0830 or alternatively you can fill out one of our contact forms and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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