Left ventricular contractility and contractile reserve in humans after cardiac transplantation.
Limited data are available concerning left ventricular contractility and contractile reserve in the chronically denervated, transplanted human heart. This is primarily because of the inability of traditional tests of left ventricular performance to distinguish changes in contractility from alterations in ventricular loading conditions. In this study, load-independent end-systolic indexes of left ventricular contractility were measured by echocardiography and calibrated carotid pulse tracings in 10 patients who had undergone orthotopic cardiac transplant (age 48 +/- 4 years; interval from operation to study 1.2 +/- 0.8 years) and in 10 normal control subjects (age 25 +/- 4 years) matched for donor heart age (25 +/- 6 years). None of the transplant patients had evidence of rejection as determined by endomyocardial biopsy. Baseline left ventricular contractility was assessed over a wide range of afterload generated by infusion of methoxamine. Contractile reserve was measured as the response to an infusion of dobutamine plus methoxamine. Before afterload challenge, baseline left ventricular percent fractional shortening was higher for the transplant patients than for the control subjects (36.5 +/- 5.7% vs 32.1 +/- 2.1%; p less than .05). These differences occurred at a time that end-systolic wall stress (a measure of afterload) was significantly lower for the transplant patients (38 +/- 16 vs 50 +/- 9 g/cm2; p less than .05). When the left ventricular end-systolic pressure-dimension and stress-shortening relationships were determined for the transplant and control subjects, no differences in contractility or contractile reserve were noted. Thus the chronically denervated, transplanted, nonrejecting human left ventricle demonstrates normal contractile characteristics and reserve.
- Copyright © 1985 by American Heart Association