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Idioventricular rhythm

Abstract

Normally, the pacemaker of the heart that is responsible for triggering each heart beat (ventricular contraction) is the SA (Sino Atrial) node. However, if the ventricle does not receive triggering signals at a rate high enough from either the SA node or the AV (Atrioventricular) node, the ventricular myocardium itself becomes the pacemaker (escape rhythm). This is called Idioventricular Rhythm. Ventricular signals are transmitted cell-to-cell between cardiomyocytes and not by the conduction system, creating wide sometimes bizarre QRS complexes(> 0.12 sec). The rate is usually 20-40 bpm. If the rate is >40 bpm, it is called accelerated idioventricular rhythm. The rate of 20-40 is the "intrinsic automaticity" of the ventricular myocardium. It can be regarded as a physiological redundancy of the cardiac electrical system.