Each electrical signal begins in a group of cells called the sinus node or sinoatrial (SA) node. The SA node is located in the right atrium (AY-tree-um), which is the upper right chamber of the heart. (Your heart has two upper chambers and two lower chambers.)
In a healthy adult heart at rest, the SA node sends an electrical signal to begin a new heartbeat 60 to 100 times a minute.
From the SA node, the signal travels through the right and left atria. This causes the atria to contract, which helps move blood into the heart's lower chambers, the ventricles (VEN-trih-kuls). The electrical signal moving through the atria is recorded as the P wave on the EKG.
The electrical signal passes between the atria and ventricles through a group of cells called the atrioventricular (AV) node. The signal slows down as it passes through the AV node. This slowing allows the ventricles enough time to finish filling with blood. On the EKG, this part of the process is the flat line between the end of the P wave and the beginning of the Q wave.
The electrical signal then leaves the AV node and travels along a pathway called the bundle of His. From there, the signal travels into the right and left bundle branches. The signal spreads quickly across your heart's ventricles, causing them to contract and pump blood to your lungs and the rest of your body. This process is recorded as the QRS waves on the EKG.
The ventricles then recover their normal electrical state (shown as the T wave on the EKG). The muscle stops contracting to allow the heart to refill with blood. This entire process continues over and over with each new heartbeat.
Source: NHLBI (NIH)1
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Sinoatrial Node: The small mass of modified cardiac muscle fibers located at the junction of the superior vena cava (Vena Cava, Superior) and right atrium. Contraction impulses probably start in this node, spread over the atrium (Heart Atrium) and are then transmitted by the atrioventricular bundle (Bundle Of His) to the ventricle (Heart Ventricle).2
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Sinoatrial Node: A cluster of specialized cells located in the upper area of the right atrium. These cells generate the electrical impulses that result in the normal sinus rhythm.3
Categories for Sinoatrial node
Category of Sinoatrial Node:
- Heart Part
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- Source: NHLBI (NIH): nhlbi.nih.gov/ health/ health-topics/ topics/ hb/ understanding
- Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
- Source: NCI Thesaurus
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