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What is it that keeps our heart beating? How does the heart know to keep beating?

I know the general answer here is the subconscious mind, but how does the subconscious mind know how to keep the heart beating?


  1. It’s not so much as subconscious as unconscious. Your brain is wired to send electrical signals to the heart which make the heart beat. I do believe there is a certain area of the heart which has special cells that respond to the signal.

  2. It’s very complicated. Nerves stimulate muscle cells to contract. It follows a conduction pattern: the SA node (the pacemaker), then through the AV node, the bundle of His, blah, blah, blah. When the top chambers are filled with blood, they are stimulated by nerves to eject blood into the bottom chambers. When they are filled, the nerves stimulate contraction into the rest of the body. There’s MUCH more to it…hope this helps though.

  3. The heart beats because the tissue has pacemaker activity. There are a node of cells in the right atrium that acts as the leading pacemaker, which means it depolarizes faster than the rest of the cardiac tissue so leads the organ. A heart would beat even if completely disconnected from the brain or any other part of the body. In fact, when someone gets a heart transplant, the heart is no longer innervated by the brain. Yet it still beats. This is caused by the low threshold and decreasing voltage differential of cardiac tissue caused by open ion channels. The heart beating has nothing to do with conscious or subconscious thought. A person may be brain dead but their heart will beat as long as nutrients, oxygen and the correct substrates are provided.


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