What is the Specific Function of the Cardiac Muscle?

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna Written by Rajath R Prabhu, last updated on Wednesday, 7 December 2022
What is the Specific Function of the Cardiac Muscle?

The Cardiac Muscle or Myocardium is a muscle tissue that forms the heart. These muscles work non-stop during a human’s life and are thus called involuntary muscles. The specific function of cardiac muscle is to pump blood throughout one’s life. But that’s not the end. There are many more things that cardiac muscles perform. 

In this article, we shall answer questions such as what is the special function of cardiac muscle? We will also explain the characteristics, diseases, mechanisms, and specific functions of cardiac muscle in detail. 

What is the Cardiac Muscle?

  1. Cardiac muscles are one of the three primary muscle tissues in the human body. 
  2. These muscles make up the heart. 
  3. These fibrous muscles are composed of cells, including fibroblasts, smooth muscle cells, and cardiomyocytes. 
  4. These muscles have an outstanding characteristic, i.e., to involuntarily contract and relax for the pumping action and the rhythmicity of the contraction.

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Key Features of Cardiac Muscle

  1. Cardiac muscles are rapid, involuntary muscles that contract and relax cyclically, which means they never rest throughout an individual’s life.
  2. The autonomic nervous system controls the function of cardiac muscle tissue.
  3. The cardiac muscles are composed of cardiomyocyte cells.
  4. The cells found in the cardiac muscles only contain a single nucleus. 
  5. The cardiac muscles start dying if it does not receive oxygenated blood for 30 minutes. Lack of oxygen to the cardiac muscles might cause a heart attack.
  6. These muscles are localised at the lining of the heart.

Specific Functions of Cardiac Muscles 

The cardiac muscle's first and foremost specific function is to supply blood throughout the body. The pacemaker cells in the heart help the cardiac muscle to contract and relax—this contraction and relaxation of the cardiac muscle aid in pumping blood.

The other specific function of the cardiac muscle are as follows:

  1. It is also involved in movement or locomotion.
  2. It also helps release various hormones like Atrial Natriuretic Peptide (ANP) and B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP). These help in diagnosing heart diseases in a person.
  3. The cardiac muscles contain the heart's natural pacemaker. These help in the contraction and relaxation in response to electrical impulses from the nervous system.

How do Cardiac Muscles Function? 

Before understanding how a cardiac muscle functions, let's first understand the basic structure and working of the heart, as it would help in learning the mechanism of cardiac muscles effortlessly:

The heart is made up of 4 chambers. There are two chambers at the top and two at the bottom, namely:

  1. Right atrium: Here, two large veins bring deoxygenated blood from the body. The right atria pass this deoxygenated blood to the right ventricle.
  2. Right ventricle: This chamber transfers the deoxygenated blood to the lungs. The lungs purify the blood.
  3. Left atrium: The purified blood arrives in the left atrium. After that, the left atrium pumps blood to the left ventricle.
  4. Left ventricle: This chamber pumps the received blood to the entire body. 

These cardiac muscles help contract and relax the chambers mentioned above, thus leading to the pumping of the heart. This contraction and relaxation of the cardiac muscle are carried out with electrical signals.

The heart's pumping mechanism is as follows:

  1. Firstly, deoxygenated blood enters the right atrium through the inferior and superior vena cava (the two large veins).
  2. The sinoatrial node (natural pacemaker) releases electrical signals in the right atrium, due to which the right atrium contracts. This contraction of the right atrium pumps blood to the right ventricle. 
  3. As the right ventricle fills up, the valves in the ventricle shut, preventing the blood from flowing back into the right atrium.
  4. The right ventricle then contracts and sends the blood to the lungs through the pulmonary artery, where the blood gets oxygenated, which then returns to the left atrium through the blood vessel known as the pulmonary vein.
  5. Then, the electric impulses make the left atrium contract. This contraction pumps the blood to the left ventricle. 
  6. As the left ventricle fills up, the valves in the left ventricle shut. As the left ventricle contracts, the blood is pushed into the aorta, a significant blood vessel from the heart that supplies the whole body.
  7. This cycle of regular atrial and ventricular contractions keeps on repeating. Generally, the sinoatrial node (SAN) releases the electrical signal at least 60 to 100 times a minute. Hence a normal heartbeat lies within this range.

Conditions that affect Cardiac Muscles

Cardiomyopathy is a heart-related disease that makes it difficult for the cardiac muscle to pump blood in the body. Different types of cardiomyopathy are present that depends on what area is affected and how. 

These are the following types of cardiomyopathy:

  1. Dilated Cardiomyopathy: There are two chambers in the heart, the ventricles and auricles. In dilated cardiomyopathy, ventricles become too weak to pump blood. This issue causes problems to the whole cardiac muscle. 
  2. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: In this condition, the cardiac muscle gets thickened and more significant than usual at the ventricle part. Thereupon causing difficulty to the cardiac muscle. 
  3. Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD): In the right ventricle, the fatty tissues replace the cardiac muscle tissue. This condition results in an abnormal heart rate also referred to as arrhythmia. 
  4. Restrictive Cardiomyopathy: In restrictive cardiomyopathy, the ventricles harden. Consequently, they become unable to pump enough blood into the body. 

Risk Factors of the Cardiac Muscle Disease

The risk factors for cardiac muscle disease are as follows:

  1. High blood pressure 
  2. Stress
  3. Obesity
  4. Unhealthy eating
  5. Alcohol consumption
  6. Smoking 
  7. Past heart attacks
  8. History of heart diseases in the family

Tips to Keep Cardiac Muscles Healthy?

Cardiac muscles play a pivotal role in everyone's lives. Thus, it is also necessary to keep them healthy. Following are some of the health tips to keep your cardiac muscles in a healthy state.

  1. Walk daily, even if it's only 30 minutes.
  2. Stop consuming alcohol
  3. Quit smoking
  4. Avoid junk food
  5. Stop drinking the calories
  6. Exercise daily 
  7. Avoid stressful conditions


Cardiac muscles are involuntary muscles made up of cardiomyocyte cells. These muscles add to the heart's structure and are found in the heart's lining. The specific function of the cardiac muscles is to pump blood throughout the body. If these cardiac muscles are damaged due to medical conditions or any injury, then it can lead to a condition known as cardiomyopathy, which could turn fatal. However, its risk can be minimised by exercising daily and eating healthily. 

If you or any of your loved ones have cardiomyopathy, you must consult a specialist as soon as possible. You can also contact the patient care specialist of HexaHealth. HexaHealth is a one-stop platform for all your healthcare needs to support you during your surgical journey, from selecting the best facility to recovering after surgery. HexaHealth's expert team of more than 1500 doctors and surgeons can help you diagnose and recommend an appropriate treatment for your disease. So, talk to a HexaHealth specialist TODAY! 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the specific function of the cardiac muscle?

The specific function of the cardiac muscle is to contract involuntarily and pump blood throughout the body. It also adds to the structure of the heart.

What are the 3 cardiac muscles?

The three cardiac muscles are as follows:

  1. Epicardium
  2. Myocardium
  3. Endocardium

What are the characteristics of cardiac muscle?

  1. The characteristics of cardiac muscle are explained below:
  2. The Autonomic Nervous System controls them.
  3. Cardiac muscles are involuntary muscles. Meaning they never rest throughout a person's life.
  4. The cells found in the cardiac muscles only contain a single nucleus.
  5. The cardiac muscles are composed of cardiomyocyte cells.
  6. These muscles are localised at the lining of the heart.

What muscle is the heart muscle?

Heart muscles are made up of cardiac muscle, which is also called myocardium. The cardiac muscles help to pump out blood in the whole body.  

What are the cardiac muscle and its function?

The cardiac muscle is a striated involuntary muscle found in the heart. The specific function of the cardiac muscle is to pump and supply blood to the human body. 

Where is cardiac muscle found?

The cardiac muscle is found in the heart. It forms the lining of the heart. The specific function of the cardiac muscle is to pump out blood in the whole body.

What is the specific cardiac muscle?

The specific cardiac muscles are:

  1. Epicardium
  2. Myocardium
  3. Endocardium.

What is the structure and function of cardiac muscle?

The cardiac muscle is the heart's involuntary, striated, and uninucleated muscle. It is made up of cardiomyocyte cells. The forces form the lining of the heart. The specific function of the cardiac muscle is to pump blood into the body through the contraction process. 

What was one unique characteristic of cardiac muscle?

The unique characteristic of cardiac muscle is that it is an involuntary muscle. Therefore, it continues to work non-stop for the person's whole life.

What is cardiac muscle controlled by?

Also known as the myocardium muscle, the autonomic nervous system controls these muscles. They keep working without stopping and supply blood throughout the body parts by contraction. 

How is cardiac muscle contraction?

The pacemaker cells in the cardiac tissues allow the cardiac muscle to contract. The cardiac muscles contract with extreme force and then relax. Thus pumping blood to the entire body.

Updated on : Wednesday, 7 December 2022


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Rajath R Prabhu

Rajath R Prabhu

MSc. Clinical Research I PG Diploma in Public Health Services Management

3 Years Experience

His work in medical content writing and proofreading is noteworthy. He has also contributed immensely to public health research and has authored four scientific manuscripts in international journals. He was assoc...View More

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