Studies on Digitalis
XV. Effects of Cardiac Glycosides on Myocardial Force-Velocity Relations in the Nonfailing Human Heart
The effects of ouabain (0.01 mg/kg) on ventricular force-velocity relations were studied in six patients who had previously undergone corrective cardiac operations. The technique employed consisted of exposing cineradiograms at 30 frames per second and measuring the velocity of movement of roentgen-opaque markers that had been sutured to the external surfaces of the ventricles while simultaneously recording intraventricular pressures. A beat-to-beat analysis of the ventricular force-velocity relation was then accomplished by relating the velocity of marker movement and intraventricular pressure at constant ventricular dimensions. It was observed that ouabain always augmented myocardial contractility as reflected in the force-velocity relation. Velocity of shortening increased an average of 77±5 (sem)% while intraventricular pressure rose by an average of 23±6%. Despite this improvement in contractility, no consistent changes in cardiac output were observed. Analogous changes in force-velocity curves were obtained when a cardiac glycoside was added to isolated papillary muscles removed from normal cats. It is concluded that the fundamental action of digitalis glycosides is to augment the contractile state of the heart, whether normal or failing, but that in the absence of heart failure this improvement is not translated into an increase in cardiac output.
- © 1966 American Heart Association, Inc.