It’s electric! Your heart, that is. The central blood pumping station of your body is really a system of electrical impulses. The official name for the system is the cardiac conduction system. There are three main sections to this system.
Sinoatrial (S-A) node: This is the pacemaker of the heart. The specialized cells in this node are the creators of energy that allows your heart to pump. Your heart rate (usually 60 to 100 beats per minute) is set by the electrical signals in the S-A node. Each pulse of your heart sends electricity through the heart walls and leads to relaxation (called diastole) and contraction (called systole) of the various chambers.
A properly working heart will contract and relax in a steady rhythm called sinus rhythm. Your heart rate will change depending on the level of activity you are experiencing and how much oxygen the body needs. More strenuous activity will require the heart to pump at a faster rate to move more oxygen through the body. A heart condition known as arrhythmia exists when your heart rate is not in the proper rhythm.
Atrioventricular (A-V) node: This node links the ventricles (lower heart chambers) with the atria (upper heart chambers) and allows signals to be passed.
His-Purkinje system: Electrical signals are carried through the lower heart chambers by this system. The system begins at the His Bundle and goes through the right and left bundle branches then ends at the Purkinje fibers to achieve contraction of the ventricles.
A heart test called an electrocardiogram (EKG) can show you the heart’s electrical system in action. This non-invasive test is a safe and effective way to check up on your heart health. Knowing about how your heart works can keep you healthy. If you think you may have any irregularities in your heart rate, get checked out right away.
At Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, we want to help you keep your heart healthy. Schedule an appointment with your cardiologist to find out more about keeping your ticker in tip-top shape for years to come.