Principles of Anatomy and Physiology

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Metabolism of Cardiac Muscle
Because of the continual function of the cardiac cells, they rely on aerobic respiration to supply energy. To assist with this energy need, about 25 percent of the volume of cardiocytes is occupied by mitochondria and the cytoplasm has high concentrations of myoglobin and glycogen.

The activity of cardiocytes is coordinated by a cardiac conduction system, which contains pacemaker regions integral to the heart and pathways to conduct the electrical signals to all the relevant parts of the heart. These signals start in the sinoatrial (SA) node, which is made up of modified cardiocytes. This pacemaker starts each heartbeat and determines the rate at which the heart beats. Electrical signals propagate from the pacemaker through the atria, causing muscle contraction. This signal also propagates to the atrioventricular (AV) node.