If the sinoatrial node fails in the heart does the heart stop beating, do the ventricles beat at a higher rate, can an artificial pacemaker correct the problem, or would it not affect the heartbeat at all?
Is only the Sinoatrial(SA) node fails there are other back up pacemakers that pick up the job of beating the heart but they don't work that well. Yes artificial pacemaker will help.
The conducting system of the heart consists of cardiac muscle cells and conducting fibers that are specialized for initiating impulses and conducting them rapidly through the heart. They have the property of automatically starting the electrical impulse that initiate the contraction of the heart muscles. This system consists of the SA node, the Atrioventricular (AV) node, Purkinje fibres, Bundle branches and Internodal and intra-atrial conduction pathways.
Although the SA node is the natural pacemaker causing the heart to beat at a rate of 60-100 bpm normally, if this fails the others can take up this work usually the AV node then the Purkinje system and Bundle branches. This sequence is because of the natural rate these tissues beat at. The SA nodes beats the fastest followed by the others as said.
An artificial pacemaker will help because as said before the other pacemakers will decrease the heart rate. This decrease will have many effects because of the decrease in amount of blood reaching the tissue per minute. The artificial pacemaker will help maintain the heart rate to a normal rate. More information about his here: