D. S. McGerk | August/2017
Part 2, the Heart's Electrical System
Atrial Fibrillation and Atrial Flutter
D. S. McGerk, this is a personal observation with no medical advice intended, but, understanding
How the Heart Works and what happens when your blood
chemistry does not support the body's natural electrical system is important. In my case low potassium [K+] triggers an electrical imbalance, and palpitations, and eventually doctors tag me/us/you with AF, (Atrial Fibrillation)
(1). and a candidate for a "Pacemaker".
A TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH INITIATIVE TO REVOLUTIONIZE CARDIOVASCULAR SCIENCE THROUGH REALISTIC SIMULATION
Many times the question is what causes
Electrical Mis-fires? We have a biological system that relies on
Chemistry to produce
Electrical Signals. (Note 1,2), and see Summary.
The best solution is to pay attention to the body's signals of i.e. malnutrition - and electrolyte imbalance, or as Dr. Bruce Ames puts it - Triage Response.
The SA node electrical potential, Heart muscle action potentials display variable shape because of the participation of voltage-gated chloride [Cl-]i and calcium [Ca2+]i channels. The VGCC
(Voltage Gated Calcium Channels), as it turns out is sensitive to EMF, hence WiFi is suspect in much heart electrical dysfunction. (Note 3)
This is in addition to the sodium [Na+] and potassium [K+] channels used by skeletal muscle and neurons. And, too little [Na+] is just as bad as too much. (JAMA, SALT), also
ref a recent Canadian study that shows there is no down side to excess K+, but Na+ optimum is a bell curve - [Ref: Potassium Sodium Table]
The time, course, and shape of action potentials differs among ventricle, atrium, and pacemaker muscle. Yet, in all cases it is the amount of Ca2+ entering during an action potential that governs the force generated and the pace of heart pumping. This is because entering Ca2+ is the trigger in heart muscle that releases stored calcium from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, which in turn initiates cross bridge formation between actin and myosin filaments and muscle shortening. (2,3)
Cardiac Muscle Cell: In the heart muscle cell, or
myocyte, electric activation takes place by means of the same mechanism as in the nerve cell - that is,
from the inflow of sodium ions across the cell membrane. The amplitude of the action potential is also similar, being about 100 mV for both nerve and muscle.
The duration of the cardiac muscle impulse is, however, two orders of magnitude longer than that in either nerve cell or skeletal muscle. A plateau phase follows cardiac depolarization, and thereafter
repolarization takes place. As in the nerve cell, repolarization is a consequence of the outflow of potassium ions. The duration of the action impulse is about 300 ms. (4)
An important distinction between cardiac muscle tissue and skeletal muscle is that in cardiac muscle, activation can propagate from one cell to another in any direction. As a result, the activation wavefronts are of rather complex shape. The only exception is the boundary between the atria and ventricles, which the activation wave normally cannot cross except along a special conduction system, since a nonconducting barrier of fibrous tissue is present.
Because the intrinsic rate of the sinus node is the greatest, it sets the activation frequency of the whole heart. If the connection from the atria to the AV node fails, the AV node adopts its intrinsic frequency. If the conduction system fails at the bundle of His, the ventricles will beat at the rate determined by their own region that has the highest intrinsic frequency. The waveforms of action impulse observed in different specialized cardiac tissue are shown in Figure 2. (4,4a,b,c)
The different waveforms for each of the specialized cells found in the heart are shown. The latency shown approximates that normally found in the healthy heart.
Atrial Flutter - Fibrillation | Bio-Chemical Malfunctions in Human Metabolism - Short Circuits
Half of what we know is wrong, the purpose of science is to determine which half " ... Arthur Kornberg, Nobel Laureate - DNA, "The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959"
KHAN Academy, youTube simple lesson. (5, 9, 10) Cardiac muscle shares a few characteristics with both skeletal muscle and smooth muscle, but it has some unique properties of its own. Not the least of these exceptional properties is its ability to initiate an electrical potential at a fixed rate that spreads rapidly from cell to cell to trigger the contractile mechanism. This property is known as autorhythmicity. Neither smooth nor skeletal muscle can do this. Even though cardiac muscle has autorhythmicity, heart rate is modulated by the endocrine and nervous systems. (Note 4) Another good explanation is by the RegisteredNurseRN - Electrical Conduction System of the Heart Cardiac | SA Node, AV Node, Bundle of His
(4) each electrical signal begins in a group of cells called the sinus node or sinoatrial (SA) node. The SA node is located in the right atrium. In a healthy adult heart at rest, the SA node sends an electrical signal to begin a new heartbeat 60 to 100 times a minute. From the SA node, the electrical signal travels through the right and left atria. It causes the atria to contract and pump blood into the ventricles.
Atrial Flutter (AFL), is a common abnormal heart rhythm, similar to atrial fibrillation, the most common abnormal heart rhythm. Both conditions are types of supraventricular (above the ventricles) tachycardia (rapid heart beat). In AFL, the upper chambers (atria) of the heart beat too fast, which results in atrial muscle contractions that are faster than and out of sync with the lower chambers (ventricles).
With AFL, the electrical signal travels along a pathway within the right atrium. It moves in an organized circular motion, or "circuit," causing the atria to beat faster than the ventricles of your heart. AFL is a heart rhythm disorder that is similar to the more common AFib. In AFib, the heart beats fast and in no regular pattern or rhythm. With AFL, the heart beats fast, but in a regular pattern. The fast, but regular pattern of AFL is what makes it special. AFL makes a very distinct "sawtooth" pattern on an electrocardiogram (ECG).
Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), is a type of heart arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. In atrial fibrillation, disorganized electrical signals originate in the heart’s upper chambers, or atria, causing the rhythm to be irregular. These signals come from small areas in the atria. Irregular heartbeats can be seen in an Electrocardiogram or “ECG”. Because contractions are not coordinated as in the normal heartbeat, the heart does not pump blood effectively to the rest of the body.
The AV node electrical potential, as the source of AFib acts after the SA node. The electrical signal starts in the SA node. The heart electrical system still depends on the
chemical potential between Na, K, and Ca.
The electrical signal then moves down to a group of cells called the atrioventricular (AV) node, located between the atria and the ventricles. Here, the signal slows down slightly, allowing the ventricles time to finish filling with blood. The electrical signal then leaves the AV node and travels to the ventricles. It causes the ventricles to contract and pump blood to the lungs and the rest of the body. The ventricles then relax, and the heartbeat process starts all over again in the SA node.
Atrial Flutter vs. Atrial Fibrillation | Short Circuits - Does Anyone Know what is going On?
- Electrolyte Imbalance:
Sports medicine has known for some time that electrolytes can damage and inhibit metabolic processes. Common symptoms of electrolyte disorder include: (15)
- irregular heartbeat.
- fast heart rate.
- fatigue and lethargy.
- convulsions or seizures.
- nausea and vomiting.
- diarrhea or constipation.
- muscle cramping, weakness, and numbness.
- irritability, confusion, and headaches.
- Coronary artery disease can change the heart muscle by injury from a heart attack or disease of the heart and coronary arteries.
New Kid on the Block - EMF: as one would guess
Environmental Pollutionnow appears to be a direct cause and this is from
Electro-Magnetic Fields - EMFs.
- EMF - i.e. WiFi: the new kid on the block directly affects the human body's trillions of voltage gated calcium [Ca2+]i channels. The VGCC (Voltage Gated Calcium Channels), as it turns out are sensitive to EMF, hence WiFi is suspect in much heart electrical dysfunction. (Note 3)
- [Ca2+]i channel blockers come in 5 types. When EMFs act this force acts by activating the VGCCs allowing calcium ions (Ca2+) to flow into the cell.
Most if not all of the biological effects are produced by excessive calcium in the cell!
- EMFs are the new Smoking Cigarette, or our weapon of mass dietary destruction WMD - Sugar.
- See - Part 3 to get into science.
Driving causes of an irregular heartbeat - arrhythmias.
Prof. Emeritus Martin L. Pall
How wireless technology harms people and nature - Jan/2017
- Atrial Flutter (AFL) vs. Atrial Fibrillation (AFib),
Normally, the top chambers (atria) contract and push blood into the bottom chambers (ventricles). In AFib, the atria beat irregularly. In AFL,
the atria beat regularly, but faster than usual and more often than the ventricles, so you may have four atrial beats to every one ventricular beat.
- The atria beat so fast and unevenly that they may quiver instead of contracting. If the atria don’t contract, they don’t move enough blood into the 2 lower chambers of the heart (ventricles). This can cause you to feel dizzy or weak.
- Blood that doesn’t keep moving can pool and form clots in the atria. These clots can move into other parts of the body and cause serious problems such as a stroke.
When the Heart Beats Too Fast - What can go Wrong?
- Medical Options: Finding the right medication or combination of medications requires a partnership of the patient and the healthcare provider. A healthcare provider will evaluate each case individually and will select the best choice based on the type of arrhythmia or patient history. A doctor may also choose to use two or more medications to treat an arrhythmia. Atrial fibrillation that does not respond to treatment with medication may require catheter ablation, or insertion of a pacemaker.
- From personal experience, when I get heart palpitations or feel irregular heartbeats, this signals electrolyte imbalance. (Verified by blood work on several occasions)
(20), Immediately, I go to coconut water, and eat tomatoes raw, or slightly warmed in a pan sauce which goes over my omelette/frittata or salmon and of course I do not use processed refined salt.
(read label on salt) The recommended salts simulate the ocean, which, comes best from ancient deposits of salt from evaporated oceans. (22,23,24,25)
If you do not eat
Seaweedthen Iodized Sea Salt is available.
Go to snacks - pumpkin seeds [K+] and we start the day with our fortified tomato juice recipe ... this site "Breakfast - Daily Starters".
As it turns out Circadian Rhythm is critical to heart function ... this site: ... metabolism.
- See also,
The Antioxidant, high Electrolyte, Smoothie, with Ketogenic options.
Tomato Juice Cocktail, added C and K (potassium), turmeric, ginger, horseradish.
Sweet potato, banana, oats, almond butter cookie.
Ok - Now What?
What we all know - no one is fooled when people use the word
Diet. It conjures up thoughts of
Restricting our Eating. But, what is the real purpose of a "Diet"? ... the Centenarian Diet is a
Lifestyle - aimed at Health and Longevity.
- Optimize our Metabolism for the Future, OMG - We cannot get to the Future "Sick".
- Maximize a balance of Nutrients with Food Intake.
- Balance Metabolism and Our Bodies will
Just Do Its Thing.
Goals are Simple:
- Potassium [K+] is a critical element. We get plenty of sodium [Na+] and the body can balance the calcium [Ca2+]i, as it stores that in our bones. Chloride [Cl − ] comes along with Na and the Chlorine in our water.
The Na+/K+ pump is responsible for transporting nutrients and maintaining cell volume. Potassium aids in muscle contraction, nerve impulse, and heart function.
Potassium is harder to get as many foods are fruits and not compatible with LCHF. The USDA DV is 4700mg.
However, a recent Canadian study shows there is no down side to excess K+, but Na+ optimum is a bell curve - [Ref: Potassium Sodium Table]
This is harder to get without the proper diet. This must be tracked we need to work overtime to get 4700mg potassium [K+] to get it in our diet.
Potassium Citratethere is a sustained improvement in calcium balance in older men and women. (11)
- Potassium Chloride KCl is used instead of sodium chloride NaCl, assuming normal use 7-8 grams/tsp, i.e. 1 tsp = 7-8gm. 1 tsp salt (NaCl), 39% Na by weight, 7.0g crystal salt, Na = 2730mg, KCl 52% K by weight, = 3540mg. If using Potassium Citrate M.W. = 324.4 g/mol, therefore, the mEq would be approximately 5 times KCl. KCl M.W. = 74.55 g/mol, by weight. That means adding 5 tsp of KC6H5O7 (Potassium Citrate) to you electrolyte regime.
- Ion Channel: The cell membrane is permeable to a number of ions, the most important of which are Na+, K+, Ca2+ and Cl-. These ions pass across the membrane through specific ion channels that can open
(become activated) and close (become inactivated). Therefore, these channels are said to be gated channels. (12,12a)
The Na+/K+ ATPase ion transporter (Wiki), which is a critical functioning part of every animal cell, plays a major role in cellular malnutrition and dysfunction.
- The daily recommendation of Na, 2300mg, K, 4700mg is set, 1:2 ratio, but the problem is that any diuretic depletes both of these elemental metals. Replacing Na is easy, the real issue is K and keeping the Na+, K+, and Ca2+ balance. Without this balance, the above graph shows that an imbalance in the channels can cause errors in heart rhythm triggering. (5,6) The Na+/K+ pump is responsible for transporting nutrients and maintaining cell volume. The wrong balance of electrolytes (such as sodium or potassium) in your blood. (7,8)