Skip to Content
The heart has four chambers. The two upper chambers are called atria
(the right atrium and the left atrium), and the two lower chambers are called
Normally, the heartbeat starts in the right atrium in a group of
special heart cells called the sinoatrial (or sinus) node. These cells act as a
pacemaker for the heart.
The heart's pacemaker sends out an electrical signal (impulse) that
spreads throughout the heart along electrical pathways. These pathways transmit
the signal from the upper to the lower chambers of the heart, which causes the
heart muscle to contract. Regular, rhythmic electrical signals keep the heart
pumping blood to the lungs and the body.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin J. Gabica, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Current as ofJanuary 27, 2016
Current as of:
January 27, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
© Copyright 2017 Rush-Copley Medical Center • 2000 Ogden Avenue; Aurora, IL 60504
Main: 630-978-6200 • Physician Referral & Information: 630-978-6700 or 866-4COPLEY (866-426-7539)