Isovolumic relaxation time varies predictably with its time constant and aortic and left atrial pressures: implications for the noninvasive evaluation of ventricular relaxation

Am Heart J. 1992 Nov;124(5):1305-13. doi: 10.1016/0002-8703(92)90416-s.


The isovolumic relaxation time (IVRT) is an important noninvasive index of left ventricular diastolic function. Despite its widespread use, however, the IVRT has not been related analytically to invasive parameters of ventricular function. Establishing such a relationship would make the IVRT more useful by itself and perhaps allow it to be combined more precisely with other noninvasive parameters of ventricular filling. The purpose of this study was to validate such a quantitative relationship. Assuming isovolumic relaxation to be a monoexponential decay of ventricular pressure (pv) to a zero-pressure asymptote, it was postulated that the time interval from aortic valve closure (when pv = p(o)) until mitral valve opening (when pv = left atrial pressure, pA) would be given analytically by IVRT = tau[log(p(o))-log(pA)], where tau is the time constant of isovolumic relaxation and log is to the base e. To test this hypothesis we analyzed data from six canine experiments in which ventricular preload and afterload were controlled nonpharmacologically. In addition, tau was adjusted with the use of beta-adrenergic blockade and calcium infusion, as well as with hypothermia. In each experiment data were collected before and after the surgical formation of mitral stenosis, performed to permit the study of a wide range of left atrial pressures. High-fidelity left atrial, left ventricular, and aortic root pressures were digitized, the IVRT was measured from the aortic dicrotic notch until the left atrioventricular pressure crossover point, and tau was calculated by nonlinear least-squares regression.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / physiology*
  • Atrial Function
  • Blood Pressure
  • Diastole
  • Dogs
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Least-Squares Analysis
  • Myocardial Contraction*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Pressure
  • Time Factors
  • Ventricular Function