Differential impact of short periods of rapid atrial pacing on left and right atrial mechanical function

Timo Weimar, Yoshiyuki Watanabe, Toshinobu Kazui, Urvi S. Lee, Marc R. Moon, Richard B. Schuessler, Ralph J. Damiano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Current techniques to describe atrial function are limited by their load dependency and hence do not accurately reflect intrinsic mechanical properties. To assess the impact of atrial fibrillation on atrial function, combined pressure-volume relationships (PVR) measured by conductance catheters were used to evaluate the right (RA) and left (LA) atrium in 12 isoflurane-anesthetized pigs. Biatrial PVR were recorded over a wide range of volumes during transient caval occlusion at baseline sinus rhythm (SR), after onset of rapid atrial pacing (RAP), after 1 h of RAP, after conversion to SR, and after 1 h of recovery. Cardiac output decreased by 16% (P = 0.008) with onset of RAP. Mean LA and RA pressures increased by 21 and 40% (P < 0.001), respectively, and remained elevated during the entire recovery period. RA reservoir function increased from 51 to 58% and significantly dropped to 43% after resumption of SR (P = 0.017). Immediately after RAP, a right shift of LA end-systolic PVR-intercept for end-systolic volume required to generate an atrial end-systolic pressure of 10 mmHg (24.4 ± 4.9 to 28.1 ± 5.2 ml, P = 0.005) indicated impaired contractility compared with baseline. Active LA emptying fraction dropped from 17.6 ± 7.5 to 11.7 ± 3.7% (P < 0.001), LA stroke volume and ΔP/Δtmax/P declined by 22% (P = 0.038 and 0.026, respectively), while there was only a trend to impaired RA systolic function. Stiffness quantified by the ratio of pressure to volume at end-diastole was increased immediately after RAP only in the RA (P = 0.020), but end-diastolic PVR shifted rightward in both atria (P = 0.011 LA, P = 0.045 RA). These data suggest that even short periods of RAP have a differential impact on RA and LA function, which was sustained for 1 h after conversion to SR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2583-2591
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2012


  • Arrhythmia
  • Atrium
  • Contractility
  • Pressure
  • Tachyarrhythmias


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