It is essential that the human heart has strong muscular layer that is able to pump blood through the heart to the lungs and body. Cardiac muscle is composed of specialised myocardial cells that enable the heart to forcefully contract.
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Cardiac muscle cells are only found in the heart. These cells function involuntarily and cannot be consciously, or voluntarily, controlled.
Cardiac muscle, when looked at microscopically, is striated, or striped. This is caused by the arrangement of protein filaments, which interact to allow movement.
Cardiac muscle cells branch out and intertwine with each other to form a tear-resistant weave. This formation is essential since the heart must withstand great pressure in order to efficiently pump blood.
Cardiac muscle cells fit together closely with each other at seams called intercalated discs. This arrangement enhances the electrical conduction necessary for the heart to function properly.
There are some very specialised cardiac muscle cells, pacemaker cells, that initiate the heartbeat. The rate at which these cells fire impulses controls the rate of the heartbeat.
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