Ventricular coupling in constrictive pericarditis.
Because of the close anatomic association, the volume or pressure in one ventricle can directly influence the volume and pressure in the other ventricle. Disease states that reduce pericardial compliance should accentuate this coupling between the ventricles. We examined this hypothesis in six dogs. Constrictive pericarditis was induced by injecting an irritant mixture into the pericardial cavity. Three to 4 weeks after this injection, the hearts were removed and placed in cool cardioplegic solution. Balloons were inserted into each ventricle and the pressure and volume changes caused by increasing the contralateral ventricular volume were measured. Compared with that in a control group of four dogs, the coupling between the ventricles was significantly augmented in the group with constrictive pericarditis. All the measured changes in ventricular pressure or volume caused by increasing contralateral ventricular pressure or volume were significantly greater (p less than .05) in the group with constrictive pericarditis. The results of these experiments show increased coupling between the ventricles with constrictive pericarditis, which helps to explain some of the signs and symptoms of constrictive pericarditis.
- Copyright © 1986 by American Heart Association