Physiology of the Heart

Physiology of the Heart

Physiology of the Heart The physiology of the heart pertains to its pumping action- that is, the heartbeat. It is estimated that the heart beats twoand- a-half billion times in a lifetime, continuously recycling some 5 liters (L) of blood to keep us alive. In this section, we will consider what causes the heartbeat, what it consists of, and its consequences. Conduction System of the Heart The conduction system of the heart is a route of specialized cardiac muscle fibers that initiate and stimulate contraction of the atria and ventricles. The conduction system is said to be intrinsic, meaning that the heart beats automatically without the need for external nervous stimulation. The conduction system coordinates the contraction of the atria and ventricles so that the heart is an effective pump. Without this conduction system, the atria and ventricles would contract at different rates. Nodal Tissue The heartbeat is controlled by nodal tissue, which has both muscular and nervous...
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