Characterization of regional diastolic pressure gradients in the right ventricle

M. Courtois, B. Barzilai, F. Gutierrez, P. A. Ludbrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Regional intraventricular pressure gradients exist in the left ventricle (LV) during both the early and late filling phases of diastole. These regional pressure gradients comprise a fundamental component of the mechanism of normal LV filling. To determine whether similar diastolic pressure gradients also occur in the right ventricle (RV), we measured right atrial (RA) and RV regional pressures with use of micromanometers in six anesthetized, closed-chest dogs. Tricuspid flow velocity was recorded with use of transesophageal Doppler echocardiography, and right ventriculograms were obtained with contrast angiography. As in the LV, the maximum RA-RV pressure gradient during early diastole was consistently greater if RV pressure was measured near the apex than in the inflow tract (1.6±0.5 versus 0.8±0.4 mm Hg). The area of reversed pressure was also found to be significantly greater in the apex than in the inflow tract (72±43 versus 8±6 mm Hg·msec). However, unlike the LV, the lowest minimum pressure was usually recorded in the RV outflow tract, resulting in a significantly increased RA-RV outflow tract pressure gradient compared with the RA-RV apex pressure gradient (2.5±0.8 versus 1.6±0.5 mm Hg). Analysis of right ventriculograms indicates marked narrowing of the RV outflow tract at end systole in all six animals, suggesting that an end-systolic deformation in this region is the likely mechanism for production of low early diastolic pressure in this region. During atrial contraction the RV regional pressure gradient pattern was similar to the LV pattern: the RV a-wave ascent occurred earlier in the inflow tract and later in the apex. A-wave ascent appeared to occur almost simultaneously in the apex and outflow tract. In the six animals, Doppler-derived peak tricuspid flow velocity during early diastole was 35±6 cm/sec. Early tricuspid flow acceleration (393±101 cm/sec2) was found to be significantly greater than deceleration of flow (182±59 cm/sec2). Comparison of tricuspid pressure-flow data with mitral pressure-flow data previously obtained in our laboratory indicates that the driving pressure gradient across the tricuspid valve is significantly less than across the mitral. This pressure difference corresponds to differences in acceleration and peak flow found across the two valves. Consideration of these physiological patterns of RV diastolic intraventricular pressure and their relation to filling has important implications with regard to the development of indexes that characterize diastolic pressure-flow relations and provides physiological insight relating to the location of ventricular restoring forces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1413-1423
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990


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