Miniseries 1-Part II: the comparative anatomy of the atrioventricular conduction axis


AIMS: The arrangement of the conduction axis is markedly different in various mammalian species. Knowledge of such variation may serve to question the validity of using animals as prospective models for design of systems for clinical use. METHODS AND RESULTS: We compared the arrangement of the atrioventricular conduction axis in human, murine, canine, porcine, and bovine hearts, examining serially sectioned datasets from 20 human, 16 murine, 3 porcine, 5 canine, and 1 bovine hearts. We also analysed computed tomographic datasets obtained from bovines and one human heart. Unlike the situation in the human heart, there is no formation of an atrioventricular fibrous membranous septum in the murine, canine, porcine, nor bovine hearts. Canine, porcine, and bovine hearts also lack an infero-septal recess, when defined as a fibrous plate supporting the buttress of the atrial septum. In these species, half of the non-coronary leaflet is directly opposed to the ventricular septal surface. CONCLUSION: There is a long right-sided non-branching component of the axis, which skirts the attachment of the non-coronary sinus of the aortic root. In the bovine heart, moreover, the left bundle branch usually extends intramyocardially as a solitary tape before surfacing and ramifying on the left ventricular septal surface. The difference in the atrioventricular conduction axis between species may influence the anatomical substrates for atrioventricular re-entry tachycardia, as well as providing inferences for assessing the risks of transcatheter implantation of the aortic valve. Further studies are now needed to assess these possibilities.

Journal details

Journal Europace
Volume 24
Issue number 3
Pages 443-454
Available online
Publication date

Crick labs/facilities