The Fibrous Skeleton of the Heart
In addition to cardiac muscle tissue, the heart wall also contains a dense connective tissue network forming the fibrous skeleton of the heart that reinforces the myocardium internally and anchors the cardiac muscle fibers. This network of collagen and elastin fibres is thicker in some areas than others. The fibrous skeleton consists of four dense connective tissue rings surrounding all the four cardiac valves like handcuffs.
This skeleton has four important functions:
a. anchors the valve cusps
b. prevents overdialation of the valve openings
c. provides the point of insertion for the bundles of heart muscle
d. blocks the direct spread of electrical impulses from atrial to ventricular muscles.
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