Chordae tendineae
The chordae tendineae, or heart strings, are cord-like tendon
A tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects muscle to bone and is capable of withstanding tension. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae as they are all made of collagen except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, and fasciae connect muscles to other...

s that connect the papillary muscle
Papillary muscle
In anatomy, the papillary muscles are muscles located in the ventricles of the heart. They attach to the cusps of the atrioventricular valves via the chordae tendinae and contract to prevent inversion or prolapse of these valves.- Action :There are five total papillary muscles in the heart, three...

s to the tricuspid valve
Tricuspid valve
The tricuspid valve, or right atrioventricular valve, is on the right dorsal side of the mammalian heart, between the right atrium and the right ventricle. The normal tricuspid valve usually has three leaflets and three papillary muscles. They are connected to the papillary muscles by the chordae...

 and the mitral valve
Mitral valve
The mitral valve is a dual-flap valve in the heart that lies between the left atrium and the left ventricle...

 in the heart
The heart is a myogenic muscular organ found in all animals with a circulatory system , that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions...


Chordae tendineae are approximately 80% collagen
Collagen is a group of naturally occurring proteins found in animals, especially in the flesh and connective tissues of mammals. It is the main component of connective tissue, and is the most abundant protein in mammals, making up about 25% to 35% of the whole-body protein content...

, while the remaining 20% is made up of elastin
Elastin is a protein in connective tissue that is elastic and allows many tissues in the body to resume their shape after stretching or contracting. Elastin helps skin to return to its original position when it is poked or pinched. Elastin is also an important load-bearing tissue in the bodies of...

 and endothelial cells.


During atrial systole
Systole (medicine)
Systole is the contraction of the heart. Used alone, it usually means the contraction of the left ventricle.In all mammals, the heart has 4 chambers. The left and right ventricles pump together. The atria and ventricles pump in sequence...

, blood flows from the atria to ventricles down the pressure gradient
Pressure gradient
In atmospheric sciences , the pressure gradient is a physical quantity that describes in which direction and at what rate the pressure changes the most rapidly around a particular location. The pressure gradient is a dimensional quantity expressed in units of pressure per unit length...

. Chordae tendineae are relaxed because the atrioventricular valves are forced open.

When the ventricle
Ventricle (heart)
In the heart, a ventricle is one of two large chambers that collect and expel blood received from an atrium towards the peripheral beds within the body and lungs. The Atria primes the Pump...

s of the heart contract in ventricular systole, the increased blood pressure
Blood pressure
Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels, and is one of the principal vital signs. When used without further specification, "blood pressure" usually refers to the arterial pressure of the systemic circulation. During each heartbeat, BP varies...

s in both chambers push the tricuspid valve and mitral valve to close simultaneously, preventing backflow of blood into the atria. Since the blood pressure in atria is much lower than that in the ventricles, the flaps attempt to evert to the low pressure regions. The chordae tendineae prevent the eversion, prolapse
Prolapse literally means "to fall out of place", from the Latin prolabi meaning "to fall out". In medicine, prolapse is a condition where organs, such as the uterus, fall down or slip out of place. It is used for organs protruding through the vagina or the rectum or for the misalignment of the...

, by becoming tense thus pulling the flaps, holding them in closed position.

Tendon of Todaro

The tendon of Todaro is a continuation of the Eustachian Valve of the Inferior vena cava and the Thebesian valve of the coronary sinus
Coronary sinus
The coronary sinus is a collection of veins joined together to form a large vessel that collects blood from the myocardium of the heart. It is present in all mammals, including humans...

. Along with the opening of the coronary sinus and the septal cusp of the tricuspid valve, it makes up the triangle of Koch. The centre of the triangle of Koch is the location of the atrioventricular node
Atrioventricular node
The atrioventricular node is a part of the electrical control system of the heart that coordinates heart rate. It electrically connects atrial and ventricular chambers...


External links

cvfg - "Mammal heart, chambers (Gross, Low)"
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