Background: Doppler Myocardial Imaging (DMI) is a new technique currently being studied for the assessment of regional systolic and diastolic left ventricular (LV) function. No normal values or data on age-related changes in regional myocardial right ventricular (RV) velocities are available.
Methods and results: Color DMI was used in 32 healthy volunteers (aged 16-76 years) to derive regional velocities from basal, medial, and apical segments of the RV free wall in the apical 4-chamber view, and from distal segments as well as from the tricuspid annulus in the parasternal long-axis view. Both mitral annular and regional LV velocities (4-chamber, long-axis parasternal view) were also recorded and compared with corresponding RV regional velocities. The M-mode displacement of the cardiac base was measured. Corresponding RV and LV DMI data sets were compared. For longitudinal function, RV free wall systolic velocities were consistently higher than velocities recorded in corresponding LV segments (analysis of variance, P <.05). Older subjects (40-76 years; 13 men, 2 women) had lower RV long-axis regional velocities than younger subjects (16-39 years; 15 men, 2 women), but had higher short-axis RV systolic velocities. For diastolic velocities, a negative correlation between age and the ratio of regional early diastolic to late diastolic velocity was shown for all RV free wall segments (eg, basal segment: r = -0.63, P <.0001).
Conclusions: The right ventricle has higher long-axis regional velocities, a greater excursion of its lateral atrioventricular valve ring, and reduced circumferential shortening velocities compared with the left ventricle. Right ventricular longitudinal shortening is dominant over short-axis function in healthy young subjects. Normal age-related changes of diastolic velocities for each segment of the normal RV free wall have been defined.