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see heartheart,
muscular organ that pumps blood to all parts of the body. The rhythmic beating of the heart is a ceaseless activity, lasting from before birth to the end of life. Anatomy and Function

The human heart is a pear-shaped structure about the size of a fist.
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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the closed, saclike structure surrounding the heart in vertebrate animals and in man. The pericardium is an isolated part of the secondary body cavity, the coelom. It consists of two layers: an external, parietal layer—the pericardium proper—and an internal, visceral layer—the epicardium. The pericardium proper consists, in turn, of an internal, serous layer and an external, fibrous layer. The epicardium, being an external membrane of the heart, directly covers and is fused to the heart muscle (myocardium). In the region where large blood vessels enter and leave the heart, the epicardium is turned back and is continuous with the pericardium proper. Between the pericardium layers is a slitlike cavity containing a small quantity of transparent pale-yellow serous fluid. The pericardium contains blood vessels, lymphatics, and numerous nerve endings and is surrounded by areolar connective tissue. It has many receptors, whose stimulation causes hemodynamic and respiratory changes.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The membranous sac that envelops the heart; it contains 5-20 grams of clear serous fluid.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


the membranous sac enclosing the heart
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Pericard, 30, said last night: "In the Premier League, 60 per cent of players in first-team squads are now from overseas, and some struggle to adapt to English culture.
McDonald's shot following a corner came back off a post, the home players appealed for a penalty, but Swindon spotted their chance, broke quickly, and Pericard deftly directed a shot from Sheehan past Brain to pinch the points and leave the Saddlers frustrated again.
Veteran striker Vincent Pericard boosts Swindon's options
Pericard had a trial period with Cardiff during the summer and came off the bench during the Bluebirds' friendly clash with Valencia.
Former Portsmouth and Stoke City ace Pericard was a surprise second-half substitute in the 2-0 home defeat to Spanish giants Valencia yesterday.
Cresswell was substituted for Pericard to start the second half, while Danny Pugh and Glenn Whelan also came on for Parkin and Diao.
The tag is supposed to be fitted 24 hours a day to ensure Pericard observes a curfew between 7pm and 7am, and its removal is believed to have been an accident on both occasions.
Simonsen, Griffin, Higginbotham, Duberry, Hoefkens, Diao, Hendrie (Hill, 90+1), Russell, Lawrence, Sidibe, Pericard (Berger, 68).
By SORIEBAH KAJUE FORMER Stoke striker Vincent Pericard is spearheading a quest to provide psychological support for players.
Sean Morrison netted the opener on the stroke of half time and then Vincent Pericard scored the second after 67 minutes.
Yeovil will be without suspended duo Sam Williams and Terrell Forbes for their trip to Tranmere tomorrow and Swindon could give a debut to new signing Vincent Pericard at home to Gillingham.
VINCENT Pericard has dealt Carlisle United a January transfer blow by turning down an offer that would have made him the club's top earner.