Assessment of left ventricular mechanics in patients with asymptomatic aortic regurgitation: a two-dimensional echocardiographic study.
We describe a noninvasive method for determining end-systolic meridional and circumferential wall stress and left ventricular architecture as the ratio of muscle to cavity area. With this technique, which uses two-dimensional echocardiography and cuff-determined values for systolic blood pressure, we assessed wall stress and left ventricular architecture in 15 normal subjects and 15 asymptomatic patients with severe chronic aortic regurgitation at rest and after load manipulations with sublingual nitroglycerin. Resting end-systolic meridional and circumferential stress were increased in patients with aortic regurgitation (113.9 +/- 29 and 260 +/- 50.7 X 10(3) dynes/cm2) compared with those in normal subjects (85.6 +/- 15.4 and 214.1 +/- 28.4 X 10(3) dynes/cm2) (both p less than .01) and remained significantly greater after nitroglycerin. Meridional stress values obtained from two-dimensional echocardiographic studies correlated closely (r = .89) with values calculated from simultaneously recorded M mode echocardiograms. Ejection fraction in patients with aortic regurgitation and normal subjects were similar at rest (55 +/- 10% vs 59 +/- 6%) and were unchanged by nitroglycerin. In spite of the increased left ventricular mass in patients with aortic regurgitation (227 +/- 60 g vs 130 +/- 22 g in normal subjects), the mass-to-volume ratio and the ratio of muscle to cavity area in diastole in patients with aortic regurgitation were significantly lower than normal (0.90 +/- 0.23 vs 1.30 +/- 0.21 and 0.91 +/- 0.23 vs 1.11 +/- 0.18 [p less than .005 and p less than .02]). These differences were exaggerated after nitroglycerin, while concomitant changes in relative wall thickness were virtually undetected by M mode echocardiography. Thus this technique can be used for early recognition of afterload excess and changes in left ventricular architecture in patients with aortic regurgitation. Furthermore, the mean slopes of the circumferential stress-diameter and meridional stress-length lines, which represent load-independent indexes of myocardial contractile state, could be assessed and were similar in the group of patients with asymptomatic aortic regurgitation and normal subjects, indicating that overall myocardial contractility was still normal. We conclude that circumferential and meridional wall stress, myocardial contractility, and left ventricular architecture can be determined noninvasively. These measurements may prove to be useful in assessing patients with primary myocardial or valvular heart disease and determining their long-term management.
- Copyright © 1984 by American Heart Association