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Cardiac conduction system

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The 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). Doctors use an EKG to monitor the cardiac conduction system’s electrical activity in the heart.

Update Date: 12/9/2012

Updated by: Glenn Gandelman, MD, MPH, FACC Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College; Private Practice specializing in Cardiovascular Disease in Greenwich, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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