The atrioventricular node (abbreviated AV node
) is an area of specialized tissue
between the atria
and the ventricles
of the heart
, specifically in the posteroinferior region of the interatrial septum near the opening of the coronary sinus, which conducts the normal electrical impulse from the atria to the ventricles.
The AV node may also be (rarely) referred to as the Aschoff-Tawara node.
The AV node receives two inputs from the atria: posteriorly via the crista terminalis
, and anteriorly via the interatrial septum
An important property that is unique to the AV node is decremental conduction, in which the more frequently the node is stimulated, the slower it conducts. This is the property of the AV node that prevents rapid conduction to the ventricle in cases of rapid atrial rhythms, such as atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.
The atrioventricular node delays impulses for a while (aprox. 0.16s) before allowing impulses through to the His-Purkinje conduction system, which spreads impulses to the ventricular walls. The reason it is important to delay the cardiac impulse is to ensure that the atria have ejected their blood into the ventricles before the ventricles contract.
The AV node is located between the right atrium and right ventricle. It slows the signals and allows the ventricles to fill before it moves on.
The blood supply of the AV node is from the posterior interventricular artery
. When the RCA supplies the posterior descending artery and thus the AV node, the coronary system is said to be "right dominant," and when the posterior descending artery is supplied by the LCX, the system is "left dominant."
- - "The conduction system of the heart."