Heart_Rate_Variation_Lab - Introduction The human heart...

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Introduction The human heart beats via a small pulse of electric current that flows throughout the body. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) regulates the electrical activity produced by the heart and spreads from top to bottom through pacemaker cells that cause the heart muscles to contract. It is vital that the electrical rhythmicity of the heart remain synchronized, if it does not then the pumping action of the heart will be compromised. The muscles must contract together to generate enough force to push the blood out of the heart’s vestiges and through the arteries and venules. Electrical signals are initiated in the sinoatrial node (SA). Neurogenic and myogenic factors such as the heart muscles strecthing influence the rate of SA depolarization (Brooks & Lange, 1977). The SA node tells the atria to contract, this signal then travels by means of Purkinje fibers to the atrioventricular node (AV), pauses briefly and then through the bundle of His and Purkinje fibers that surround the ventricles resulting in the ventricular contraction. An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) can be used to record electrical activity by detecting the electrical current produced by the cardiac cycle at the body’s
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This note was uploaded on 05/05/2008 for the course BIO 111L taught by Professor Haftel during the Fall '08 term at Morehouse.

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Heart_Rate_Variation_Lab - Introduction The human heart...

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