The Effect of Atrial Contraction on Left Ventricular Performance in Valvular Aortic Stenosis
The instantaneous response of the left ventricle to loss or recovery of effective atrial contraction was studied in 12 patients with valvular aortic stenosis by producing A-V dissociation by electrical pacing of the ventricles so that some ventricular contractions were preceded by an effective atrial contraction while others were not. A conventional hydraulic formula relating size of the aortic valve orifice, pressure gradient, and flow was used to estimate beat to beat stroke volume. A properly timed atrial contraction augmented left ventricular performance in all patients, increasing stroke volume index from 14 to 55% (mean, 27%) and stroke work from 17 to 85% (mean, 45%).
The contribution of atrial contraction to integrated cardiac performance was studied in six of the same patients by comparing cardiac performance with right atrial pacing and right ventricular pacing. With right atrial pacing, each ventricular contraction was preceded by an atrial contraction, while with right ventricular pacing many ventricular contractions were not preceded by atrial contraction. Right atrial pacing increased cardiac index in four of six patients: The mean increase for the total group was 13% and the mean increase in left ventricular minute work index was 17%.
Although atrial contraction was capable of augmenting left ventricular performance in all patients studied, loss or recovery of effective atrial systole did not always alter integrated cardiac performance. Factors influencing atrial contribution remain poorly understood. Atrial contraction does not appear to have an unusual effect on the performance of the hypertrophied left ventricle.
- © 1967 American Heart Association, Inc.