Pressure-flow studies in man: effect of atrial systole on left ventricular function.
In order to evaluate the effects of atrial contraction on left ventricular function, the pressure gradient technique was used to measure instantaneous aortic blood flow and pressure in nine patients, six having complete heart block and three having normal sinus rhythm. From these data both left ventricular stroke volume and stroke work were calculated. Ventricular rate was controlled by transvenous right ventricular pacing over a range of 50-158 beats/min. At each heart rate, beats which were not preceded by a P wave served as controls. The other beats were divided into six groups according to the duration of the preceding PR interval. The results indicated that stroke volume and stroke work were always affected similarly. In one patient the presence of a P wave did not alter the subsequent stroke volume significantly. In the other patients, beats preceded by P waves had stroke volumes greater than the controls. In general, there was no difference in stroke volume for beats preceded by a P wave having a PR interval within the range of 0.05-0.20 sec. As the PR interval lengthened beyond 0.20 sec stroke volume tended to decrease, especially at more rapid heart rates. The absolute increase in stroke volume after a beat preceded by a P wave (PR interval 0.05-0.20 sec) was quite variable among the patients. For a given patient the absolute increase in stroke volume was essentially independent of heart rate. The percentage change in stroke volume, however, was always greater as the heart rate increased. These data indicate that in most patients atrial systole is important in augmenting ventricular stroke volume and stroke work especially at high heart rates, but the magnitude of these effects are quite variable among patients.
Ruskin, J; McHale, PA; Harley, A; Greenfield, JC
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