Effects of chronically elevated pulmonary arterial pressure and flow on right ventricular afterload

Am J Physiol. 1994 Jul;267(1 Pt 2):H155-65. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.1994.267.1.H155.


The effects of pulsatile hemodynamics on right ventricle-pulmonary circulation interactions were studied in control lambs and in two lamb models of altered pulmonary hemodynamics induced at infancy: elevated pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) was created by the infusion of monocrotaline pyrrole (MCTP), and elevated pulmonary arterial blood flow was obtained by the creation of an arteriovenous fistula (Shunt). High-fidelity PAP, midvessel Doppler blood velocity (PAV), and cardiac output (CO) were measured in open-chest, anesthetized lambs. PAV waveforms were normalized to match the measured CO. Measured pressure and flow signals were separated in the time domain into forward and backward components. Pulmonary input impedance and indexes quantifying the timing of the reflected wave pulse (beginning of reflected pulse, duration of reflected pulse in systole, and duration of reflected wave in diastole) were calculated for each group. Results indicate that in control animals the reflected wave returned late in systole and extended through much of diastole, thereby increasing diastolic pressure like a counterpulsation balloon. No significant differences in the timing indexes were found between Shunt and control animals. In the MCTP group, the reflected wave returned significantly earlier than normal with the peak reflected pulse occurring before valve closure. The resulting augmentation of systolic pressure and, therefore, large pulse pressure is consistent with pressure waveforms observed in clinical pulmonary hypertension. We conclude that early wave reflection exerts a detrimental effect in pulmonary hypertension by unfavorably loading the still-ejecting right ventricle.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Monocrotaline / analogs & derivatives
  • Monocrotaline / pharmacology
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Circulation*
  • Pulsatile Flow
  • Sheep
  • Time Factors
  • Vascular Resistance
  • Ventricular Function, Right*


  • monocrotaline pyrrole
  • Monocrotaline