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Posterior surface (heart, anatomy)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The base of the heart is probably better termed its posterior surface. It is not the most inferior surface of the organ but rather the most superior. It assumed the term because it is thought to resemble the base of the pyramid or cone which extends obliquely to the left to the apex of the heart.

The surface of the base is quadrangular in shape and faces posteriorly and slightly to the right. Predominantly, it consists of the posterior surface of the left atrium with a smaller contribution on the right from the right atrium. Its boundaries are:

  • superiorly: bifurcation of pulmonary trunk
  • inferiorly: coronary sulcus posterior part
  • right and left: convexities of respective atria

On its surface, the base receives:

  • two pulmonary veins on each side into left atrium
  • superior and inferior vena cava into right atrium

The relations of the base are:

  • laterally: lung roots
  • posteriorly, from anterior to posterior:
    • pericardium
    • pulmonary veins
    • aorta
    • oesophagus
    • vertebral bodies of T5 to T9

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