The Anatomic Atrial Connections Between Sinus and A-V Node
The morphology of the sinus and atrioventricular (A-V) nodes of human hearts was studied and connecting pathways between these nodes were sought. The cells of both nodes differed from ordinary atrial and ventricular myocardium in respect to size, shape, number, and arrangement of cytoplasmic organelles. Using the criteria of fiber-to-fiber connection, shown by means of serial histological sectioning, this study confirmed previous reports of three pathways between the sinus and A-V nodes in the human heart. It was not required that these pathways be composed of classic Purkinje-type fibers, though many of the fibers did possess some of the features of Purkinje fibers. While recent evidence reveals that specialized atrial pathways do demonstrate increased conduction velocity, their prime functional significance may be in the facilitation of orderly atrial depolarization, the maintenance of sinus node control of ventricular depolarization under various physiological conditions, and the provision of an orderly "input" into the A-V node, a tissue generally acknowledged to have a low margin of safety.
- © 1968 American Heart Association, Inc.