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SA Node and AV Node

Electrical pulses in the heart are controlled by special groups of cells called nodes. The SA (sinoatrial) node generates an electrical signal that causes the upper heart chambers (atria) to contract. The signal then passes through the AV (atrioventricular) node to the lower heart chambers (ventricles), causing them to contract, or pump.

The SA node is considered the pacemaker of the heart. Its electrical signals normally cause the atria to contract at a rate of 60 to 100 times a minute.

Disturbance anywhere along this electrical pathway can cause irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia).

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer John M. Miller, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Current as of March 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.