The apex of the heart is pointed forward, downward, and to the left. It is typically located deep to the left fifth intercostal space and slightly medial to the left midclavicular line (an imaginary line drawn parallel to the body’s long axis and crossing the middle of the clavicle). The inferolateral part of the left ventricle forms the cardiac apex.
The apex of the heart is the very tip and helps pump or “wring out” blood from the ventricles to the rest of the body (LV apex) or the lungs (RV apex). It does this by helping to regulate the right and left ventricles of the heart and allowing them to pump blood upward and out of the heart. The right ventricle returns blood to the lungs, where the organs oxygenate the blood. The left ventricle brings oxygenated blood all over the body.
An older study reports that common symptoms include:
- Chest pain
- Dyspnea, or shortness of breath
The symptoms often precede an intense physical or emotional event. Takotsubo cardiomyopathy typically has similar symptoms to a heart attack. However, doctors will consider a person to have a heart attack until they prove otherwise.
Surfaces of heart
The heart has the following five surfaces:
- Posterior surface (corresponds to the base of the heart)
- Diaphragmatic (inferior surface)
- Sternocostal (anterior surface)
- Left pulmonary surface (left lateral surface)
- Right pulmonary surface (right lateral surface)
Apical heart attack
Apical myocardial infarction, a heart attack, results from prolonged reduced blood flow in the left anterior descending artery (LAD). the LAD is the largest coronary artery running from the heart’s base to the apex.
An EKG test in a person experiencing an apical heart attack will demonstrate widespread changes, especially when a person has:
- Chest pain
- Elevated cardiac enzymes
- Echocardiographic apical wall motion abnormalities
Myocarditis refers to inflammation of the heart. This condition can also affect the apex of the heart along with the rest of the heart. Symptoms of myocarditis are not specific, meaning the symptoms are the same as several other conditions. People may experience:
A doctor may suspect myocarditis if a person has symptoms, such as trouble breathing and chest pain, without others that may be due to other causes, such as coronary artery disease. Healthcare professionals may order the following test when diagnosing myocarditis:
- Heart biopsy
- Blood test
Doctors may recommend avoiding strenuous activities for up to 6 months after diagnosis or, in severe cases, a temporary heart pump.