The Innervation of the Heart
An article on the innervation of the heart muscle.
Initiation of the cardiac cycle is myogenic, originating in the sinuatrial node (SA). It is harmonizied in rate, force and output by autonomic nerves which operate on the nodal tissues and their prolongations, on coronary vessels and on the working atrial and ventricular musculature. All the cardiac branches of the N.vagus, X. cranial nerve, (parasympathetic) and all the sympathetic branches (except the cardiac branch of the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion) contain both afferent and efferent fibres; the cardiac branch of the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion is entirely efferent. Sympathetic fibres accelerate the heart and dilate the coronary arteries when stimulated, whereas parasympathetic (vagal) fibres slow the heart and cause constriction of coronary arteries.