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May 19, 1956

Excitability of the Heart

JAMA. 1956;161(3):293. doi:10.1001/jama.1956.02970030111037

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This excellent monograph brings the reader up-to-date on the excitability of the heart. The presentation, based on the original studies of the authors, integrated with those of others, indicates the present status of the field. The authors are aware of the transient character of this status and refer to many unsolved problems. Data are presented concerning other excitable tissues, and their similarities to and differences from those data concerning cardiac tissue is indicated. Furthermore, the differences between atrial, ventricular, specialized conducting, and specialized pacemaker tissues of the heart are stressed. The new concept of the "sodium pump" responsible for the electrical currents in the heart is clearly outlined and its hypothetical nature stressed. The work on transmembrane potentials is described in detail. This represents one of the major advances in cardiac physiology. These new data are integrated with classic views on excitability. The methods employed in the studies are fully

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