Objectives: The purpose of this study was to explore in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) whether the cause of interventricular asynchrony lies in onset of shortening or duration of shortening.
Background: In PAH, leftward ventricular septal bowing (LVSB) is probably caused by a left-to-right (L-R) delay in myocardial shortening.
Methods: In 21 PAH patients (mean pulmonary arterial pressure 55 +/- 13 mm Hg and electrocardiogram-QRS width 100 +/- 16 ms), magnetic resonance imaging myocardial tagging (14 ms temporal resolution) was applied. For the left ventricular (LV) free wall, septum, and right ventricular (RV) free wall, the onset time (T(onset)) and peak time (T(peak)) of circumferential shortening were calculated. The RV wall tension was estimated by the Laplace law.
Results: The T(onset) was 51 +/- 23 ms, 65 +/- 4 ms, and 52 +/- 22 ms for LV, septum, and RV, respectively. The T(peak) was 293 +/- 58 ms, 267 +/- 22 ms, and 387 +/- 50 ms for LV, septum, and RV, respectively. Maximum LVSB was at 395 +/- 45 ms, coinciding with septal overstretch and RV T(peak). The L-R delay in T(onset) was -1 +/- 16 ms (p = 0.84), and the L-R delay in T(peak) was 94 +/- 41 ms (p < 0.001). The L-R delay in T(peak) was not related to the QRS width but was associated with RV wall tension (p < 0.05). The L-R delay in T(peak) correlated with leftward septal curvature (p < 0.05) and correlated negatively with LV end-diastolic volume (p < 0.05) and stroke volume (p < 0.05).
Conclusions: In PAH, the L-R delay in myocardial peak shortening is caused by lengthening of the duration of RV shortening. This L-R delay is related to LVSB, decreased LV filling, and decreased stroke volume.