Show Summary Details
Page of

Anatomy and physiology of the atrioventricular node 

Anatomy and physiology of the atrioventricular node
Anatomy and physiology of the atrioventricular node

M. J. Pekka Raatikainen


April 23, 2020: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 June 2022

The atrioventricular node (AVN) and the surrounding area is a crucial part of the cardiac conduction system. It consists of specialized tissue located at the base of the atrial septum within the triangle of Koch. The inherent physiological function of the AVN is to delay cardiac impulse propagation between the atria and the ventricles, and to function as a backup pacemaker in the setting of sinoatrial node dysfunction or advanced atrioventricular (AV) block. AV nodal conduction and pacemaker activity are under strict control by the autonomic nervous system. Due to the unique property of decremental conduction, the AVN protects the heart from an excessive ventricular rate during rapid atrial arrhythmias. On the other hand, the AVN is also an important source of brady- and tachyarrhythmias, and a target for various pharmacological and non-pharmacological arrhythmia therapies.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.