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Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
 
they form a considerable portion of the moderator band and also appear as gelatinous-looking strands on the inner walls of the atria and ventricles. They also occur in the human heart associated with the terminal distributions of the bundle of His. The fibers are very much larger in size than the cardiac cells and differ from them in several ways. In longitudinal section they are quadrilateral in shape, being about twice as long as they are broad. The central portion of each fiber contains one or more nuclei and is made up of granular protoplasm, with no indication of striations, while the peripheral portion is clear and has distinct transverse striations. The fibers are intimately connected with each other, possess no definite sarcolemma, and do not branch.
  The muscular structure of the heart consists of bands of fibers, which present an exceedingly intricate interlacement. They comprise (a) the fibers of the atria, (b) the fibers of the ventricles, and (c) the atrioventricular bundle of His.
  The fibers of the atria are arranged in two layers—a superficial, common to both cavities, and a deep, proper to each. The superficial fibers are most distinct on the front of the atria, across the bases of which they run in a transverse direction, forming a thin and incomplete layer. Some of these fibers run into the atrial septum. The deep fibers consist of looped and annular fibers. The looped fibers pass upward over each atrium, being attached by their two extremities to the corresponding atrioventricular ring, in front and behind. The annular fibers surround the auriculæ, and form annular bands around the terminations of the veins and around the fossa ovalis.
  The fibers of the ventricles are arranged in a complex manner, and various accounts have been given of their course and connections; the following description is based on the work of McCallum. 1 They consist of superficial and deep layers, all of which, with the exception of two, are inserted into the papillary muscles of the ventricles. The superficial layers consist of the following: (a) Fibers which spring from the tendon of the conus arteriosus and sweep downward and toward the left across the anterior longitudinal sulcus and around the apex of the heart, where they pass upward and inward to terminate in the papillary muscles of the left ventricle; those arising from the upper half of the tendon of the conus arteriosus pass to the anterior papillary muscle, those from the lower half to the posterior papillary muscle and the papillary muscles of the septum. (b) Fibers which arise from the right atrioventricular ring and run diagonally across the diaphragmatic surface of the right ventricle and around its right border on to its costosternal surface, where they dip beneath the fibers just described, and, crossing the anterior longitudinal sulcus, wind around the apex of the heart and end in the posterior papillary muscle of the left ventricle. (c) Fibers which spring from the left atrioventricular ring, and, crossing the posterior longitudinal sulcus, pass successively into the right ventricle and end in its papillary muscles. The deep layers are three in number; they arise in the papillary muscles of one ventricle and, curving in an S-shaped manner, turn in at the longitudinal sulcus and end in the papillary muscles of the other ventricle. The layer which is most superficial in the right ventricle lies next the lumen of the left, and vice versa. Those of the first layer almost encircle the right ventricle and, crossing in the septum to the left, unite with the superficial fibers from the right atrioventricular ring to form the posterior papillary muscle. Those of the second layer have a less extensive course in the wall of the right ventricle, and a correspondingly greater course in the left, where they join with the superficial fibers from the anterior half of the tendon of the conus arteriosus to form the papillary muscles of the septum. Those of the third layer pass almost entirely around the left ventricle and unite with the superficial fibers from the lower half of the tendon of the conus arteriosus to form the anterior papillary muscle. Besides the layers just described there are two bands which do not end in papillary muscles. One springs from the right atrioventricular ring and crosses in the atrioventricular septum; it then encircles the deep layers of the left ventricle and ends in the left atrioventricular ring. The second band is apparently confined to the left ventricle; it is attached to the left atrioventricular ring, and encircles the portion of the ventricle adjacent to the aortic orifice.
  The atrioventricular bundle of His (Fig. 501), is the only direct muscular connection known to exist between the atria and the ventricles. Its cells differ from ordinary cardiac muscle cells in being more spindle-shaped. They are, moreover, more loosely arranged and have a richer vascular supply than the rest of the heart muscle. It arises in connection with two small collections of spindle-shaped cells, the sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodes. The sinoatrial node is situated on the anterior border of the opening of the superior vena cava; from its strands of fusiform fibers run under the endocardium of the wall of the atrium to the atrioventricular node. The atrioventricular node lies near the orifice of the coronary sinus in the annular and septal fibers of the right atrium; from it the atrioventricular bundle passes forward in the lower part of the membranous septum, and divides into right and left fasciculi. These run down in the right and left ventricles, one on either side of the ventricular septum, covered by endocardium. In the lower parts of the ventricles they break up into numerous strands which end in the papillary muscles and in the ventricular muscle generally. The greater portion of the atrioventricular bundle consists of narrow, somewhat fusiform fibers, but its terminal strands are composed of Purkinje fibers.
Note 1.  Johns Hopkins Hospital Reports, vo [back]

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