What makes the heart beat? Your heart continues beating every moment of the day and night, even without you being aware of it. It may change its rate and rhythm for a few moments when you exercise or when you are excited, but it soon goes back to its regular pace without your conscious control. The cycle of contraction and relaxation of the heart muscle is generated by electrical impulses that are controlled by the conduction system of the heart, which may be influenced by factors such as temperature, exercise, and hormonal changes.
Part 1: 5 Elements of the Conduction Pathway
The conduction system of the heart controls its pumping action, which results in the delivery of blood to the different organs and tissues …show more content…
Part 2: The Conduction System
The conduction system of the heart works this way:
Step 1: Pacemaker Impulse Generation.
The SA node is known a natural pacemaker because it sets the pace of the heartbeat. It is where cardiac muscle contraction begin, from an impulse which causes the right and left atria to contract and push blood into the ventricles.
Step 2: AV Node Impulse Conduction. From the atria, the electrical signal spreads to the AV node, a group of cells found between the atria.
Step 3: AV Bundle Impulse Conduction. The electrical impulse then travels through the AV bundle of His, which divides into a right and left bundle branches.
Step 4: Purkinje Fibers Impulse Conduction
Then the action potential spreads through the Purkinje fibers, which causes the left and right ventricles to contract. The strong contraction of the ventricles causes the pumping of the blood from the right ventricle to the lungs, and from the left ventricle to the rest of the body. After the ventricles contract, they relax and get filled with more blood from the atria as an electrical impulse from the SA node begins the cardiac cycle …show more content…
It is a useful tool to monitor the heart’s conduction system and may be used to detect abnormalities in function.
Heart and ECG Comparison
Ventricular contraction begins at the lower portion (apex) of your heart and moves upward and forces blood toward the large arteries, which are located above or superior to the ventricle.
The heart’s electrical activity correlates with the ECG wave tracing:
The P wave signals atrial depolarization, which corresponds to atrial contraction.
The QRS complex signals ventricular depolarization, which corresponds to ventricular contraction.
The T wave indicates ventricular repolarization, which corresponds to ventricular relaxation.
Problems That Can Go Wrong:
Sometimes, the heart produces an irregular heartbeat or an arrhythmia. This may occur when:
• The sinus (SA) node changes its rate or rhythm.
• The conduction system of the heart is