Diastolic flow pattern in the normal left ventricle

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 1999 Jun;12(6):500-7. doi: 10.1016/s0894-7317(99)70087-8.


Objectives: This study sought to clarify the diastolic flow pattern in the normal left ventricle.

Background: During left ventricular filling, basally directed (retrograde) velocities are seen in the outflow compartment. These velocities may represent blood returned from the apical region or a shortcut at a more basal level.

Methods: Left ventricular flow patterns were identified in 18 healthy individuals (age 47 +/- 12 years) with the use of high frame-rate two-dimensional color Doppler and color M-mode Doppler echocardiography techniques. Intraventricular velocities were measured with single pulsed Doppler at 3 levels in both inflow and outflow compartments (posterolateral and anteroseptal parts of the left ventricle).

Results: During early transmitral flow acceleration, all intraventricular velocities were directed towards the apex. However, after peak early and late inflow velocities and during diastasis, retrograde velocities were identified in the outflow compartment. These retrograde velocities occurred earlier, and were higher, at the level of the deflected anterior mitral leaflet tip compared with more apical levels (P <.001). A velocity pattern was established, consistent with early intraventricular vortex formation behind both mitral leaflets. The vortex adjacent to the anterior leaflet subsequently enlarged to include a major part of the left ventricle.

Conclusion: Uniform diastolic flow patterns were identified in the normal left ventricles. The findings suggest that both early and late diastolic filling start with an initial motion of a fluid column, succeeded by vortex formation, which explains retrograde flow in the outflow compartment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Flow Velocity*
  • Diastole / physiology*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler, Color*
  • Female
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology*