Pectinate muscles

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Pectinate muscles
Section of the heart showing the ventricular septum. (Pectinate muscles labeled at center left.)
Latin Musculi pectinati atrii dextri,
musculi pectinati atrii sinistri
Gray's p.529
TA A12.1.01.008
FMA 76529
Anatomical terminology

The pectinate muscles (musculi pectinati) are parallel ridges in the walls of the atria of the heart. They resemble the teeth of a comb, hence the name (which derives from Latin pecten, meaning "comb" or "rake").

Behind the crest (crista terminalis) of the right atrium the internal surface is smooth. Pectinate muscles make up the part of the wall in front of this, the right atrial appendage.[citation needed]

In the left atrium, the pectinate muscles, fewer and smaller than in the right atrium, are confined to the inner surface of its atrial appendage. This is due to the embryological origin of the auricles, which are the true atria. Some sources cite that the pectinate muscles are useful in increasing the power of contraction without increasing heart mass substantially.[citation needed]

Pectinate muscles of the atria are different from the trabeculae carneae which are found on the inner walls of both ventricles.[citation needed] The pectinate muscles originate from the crista terminalis.[citation needed]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

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