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Question

Describe the conducting system of the heart


Solution

cardiac conduction system is a group of specialized cardiac muscle cells in the walls of the heart that send signals to the heart muscle causing it to contract. The main components of the cardiac conduction system are the SA node, AV node, bundle of His, bundle branches, and Purkinje fibers. The SA node (anatomical pacemaker) starts the sequence by causing the atrial muscles to contract. From there, the signal travels to the AV node, through the bundle of His, down the bundle branches, and through the Purkinje fibers, causing the ventricles to contract. This signal creates an electrical current that can be seen on a graph called an Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG). 
Cardiac conduction can be influenced by various factors including exercise, temperature, and endocrine system hormones. Step 1: Pacemaker Impulse Generation

The first step of cardiac conduction is impulse generation. The SA(also referred to as the pacemaker of the heart) contracts, generating nerve impulses that travel throughout the heart wall. This causes both atria to contract. The SA node is located in the upper wall of the right atrium. It is composed of nodal tissue that has characteristics of both muscle and nervoustissue.

Step 2: AV Node Impulse Conduction

The atrioventricular(AV)node lies on the right side of the partition that divides the atria, near the bottom of the right atrium. When the impulses from the SA node reach the AV node, they are delayed for about a tenth of a second. This delay allows atria to contract and empty their contents into the ventricles prior to ventricle contraction.

Step 3: AV Bundle Impulse Conduction

The impulses are then sent down the atrioventricular bundle. This bundle of fibers branches off into two bundles and the impulses are carried down the center of the heart to the left and right ventricles.

Step 4: Purkinje Fibers Impulse Conduction

At the base of the heart the atrioventricular bundles start to divide further into Purkinje fibers.

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