Electrical Conduction System of the Heart

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The heart’s electrical system controls all the events that occur when your heart pumps blood.
Each beat of your heart begins with an electrical signal from the sinoatrial node, called SA node.
The signal is generated as the two vena cavae fill your heart’s right atrium with blood from other parts of your body. The signal spreads across the cells of your heart’s right and left atria. This signal causes the atria to contract. This action pushes blood through the open valves from the atria into both ventricles.
The signal arrives at the AV node near the ventricles, where it slows for an instant to allow your heart’s right and left ventricles to fill with blood. The signal is released and moves to the His bundle located in the walls of your heart’s ventricles.
The signal is released and moves next to the bundle of His located in your heart's ventricles. From the bundle of His, the signal fibers divide into left and right bundle branches which run through your heart's septum.
The signal leaves the left and right bundle branches through the Purkinje fibers that connect directly to the cells in the walls of your heart’s left and right ventricles.
As the signal spreads across the cells of your heart’s ventricle walls, both ventricles contract, but not at exactly the same moment. The left ventricle contracts an instant before the right ventricle. This pushes blood through the pulmonary valve (for the right ventricle) to your lungs, and through the aortic valve (for the left ventricle) to the rest of your body.
As the signal passes, the walls of the ventricles relax and await the next signal.
Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. nhlbi.nih.gov
LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD
Atrioventricular
(AV) node
Bundle of His
Left and right
bundle branches
Purkinje fibers
Left
Ventricle
Right
Sinoatrial
(SA) node
Atrium
Electrical Conduction System of the Heart
(cardiac conduction system)