Inferior Extensions of the Atrioventricular Node

R.H. Anderson, J.P.J.M. Hikspoors, J.T. Tretter, Y. Macias, D.E. Spicer, W.H. Lamers, D. Sanchez-Quintana, E.B. Sternick*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The pathways for excitation of the atrioventricular node enter either superiorly, as the so-called 'fast' pathway, or inferiorly as the 'slow' pathway. However, knowledge of the specific anatomical details of these pathways is limited. Most of the experimental studies that established the existence of these pathways were conducted in mammalian hearts, which have subtle differences to human hearts. In this review, the authors summarise their recent experiences investigating human cardiac development, correlating these results with the arrangement of the connections between the atrial myocardium and the compact atrioventricular node as revealed by serial sectioning of adult human hearts. They discuss the contributions made from the atrioventricular canal myocardium, as opposed to the primary ring. Both these rings are incorporated into the atrial vestibules, albeit with the primary ring contributing only to the tricuspid vestibule. The atrial septal cardiomyocytes are relatively late contributors to the nodal inputs. Finally, they relate our findings of human cardiac development to the postnatal arrangement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)262-272
Number of pages11
JournalArrhythmia & Electrophysiology Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021


  • Conduction tissues
  • animal species
  • fast pathway
  • slow pathway
  • development


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