Medical Definition of Atrioventricular node

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Atrioventricular node: The electrical relay station between the upper and lower chambers of the heart. Abbreviated AV node. Electrical signals from the atria must pass through the AV node to reach the ventricles. The AV node, which controls the heart rate, is one of the major elements in the cardiac conduction system. The AV node serves as an electrical relay station, slowing the electrical current sent by the sinoatrial (SA) node before the signal is permitted to pass down through to the ventricles. This delay ensures that the atria have an opportunity to fully contract before the ventricles are stimulated. After passing the AV node, the electrical current travels to the ventricles, along special fibers embedded in the walls of the lower part of the heart.

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Reviewed on 12/4/2018

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