Protective Membranes

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Harvard Medical School

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Protective Membranes

Seniors' Health
22030
Heart Basics: An Interactive Illustration
Protective Membranes
Protective Membranes
htmJHEHeart.152177
Read about the membranes, which help protect the heart and its components.
152177
InteliHealth
2011-12-02
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InteliHealth Medical Content
2014-12-02

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Protective Membranes

The heart is covered by the pericardium, which is made of two layers. The layer in direct contact with the outside surface of the heart is the epicardium. It's a thin, glossy membrane. The outer layer of the pericardium is slightly thicker and attaches to several areas in the chest to anchor the heart in place.

The heart rests inside the sac created by the two layers. A small amount of fluid resides between the layers directly over the heart. This fluid acts as a lubricant, allowing the heart to beat with minimal friction.

Another smooth, glossy membrane, called the endocardium, covers the inside surfaces of the four chambers of the heart, plus the valves and the muscles that attach to the valves.

 

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Last updated December 02, 2011


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