Figure 10-4 shows in summary form the transmission of the cardiac impulse through the human heart. The numbers on the figure represent the intervals of time, in fractions of a second, that lapse between the origin of the cardiac impulse in the sinus node and its appearance at each respective point in the heart. Note that the impulse spreads at moderate velocity through the atria but is delayed more than 0.1 second in the A-V nodal region before appearing in the ventricular septal A-V bundle. Once it has entered this bundle, it spreads very rapidly through the Purkinje fibers to the entire endocardial surfaces of the ventricles. Then the impulse once again spreads slightly less rapidly through the ventricular muscle to the epicardial surfaces.
It is extremely important that the student learn in detail the course of the cardiac impulse through the heart and the precise times of its appearance in each separate part of the heart, because a thorough quantitative knowledge of this process is essential to the understanding of electrocardiography, to be discussed in Chapters 11 through 13.
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This ebook provides an introductory explanation of the workings of the human body, with an effort to draw connections between the body systems and explain their interdependencies. A framework for the book is homeostasis and how the body maintains balance within each system. This is intended as a first introduction to physiology for a college-level course.