The refractory period in cardiac muscle

 
 
 
 
The refractory period in cardiac muscle is the period after the ventricular contraction during which both the atria and the ventricles are at rest. It is the time needed for repolarization of the muscle cell membranes before they can be stimulated again by an impulse from either the sinoatrial node or the atrioventricular node. This period lasts for 0.4 seconds (Applegate, 2000, 251). The repolarization time in cardiac muscle is roughly the same length of time (250 msec) as the time for a contraction and so contractions cannot overlap (Kimball, 2004). The refractory period in skeletal muscle is only 1 - 2 msec, which is much shorter than the contraction/relaxation cycle of skeletal muscle (50 msec for contraction, 60-100 msec for relaxation). This means

     
 
 
 
    

 

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