Ventricular interaction: from bench to bedside

Ann Med. 2001 May;33(4):236-41. doi: 10.3109/07853890108998751.


Decreased right ventricle (RV) output results in decreased left ventricle end-diastolic volume (LVEDV) and output by series interaction. Direct ventricular interaction may also have a major effect on LV function. Thus, decreased LVEDV caused by reduced RV output may be further reduced by a leftward septal shift and pericardial constraint. This has been shown to be true in acute and chronic pulmonary hypertension and is now also apparent in severe congestive heart failure. The use of intracavitary LV end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP) to assess LVEDV is inappropriate if pressure surrounding the LV is increased: the surrounding pressure should be subtracted from LVEDP to calculate the effective distending (transmural) pressure which governs preload. If the surrounding pressure increases more than LVEDP, transmural LVEDP and LVEDV will decrease despite the increased LVEDP. Thus, the use of filling pressure to reflect changes in LVEDV has led to erroneous conclusions regarding changes in myocardial compliance and contractility. It is now clear that volume loading may reduce LVEDV and stroke work in pulmonary embolism, chronic lung disease and severe congestive heart failure despite increased LVEDP. The decreased stroke work is a result of reduced LV preload, not decreased contractility as would be suggested if filling pressure is used to reflect preload.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Pressure / physiology
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Heart Septum / physiology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology*
  • Pericardium / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Function / physiology*
  • Ventricular Pressure / physiology