Right heart pressure does not equal pericardial pressure in the potassium chloride-arrested canine heart in situ.
Recently proposed concepts of pericardial surface pressure, as opposed to liquid pressure, have advanced our understanding of the relationship between pericardial and heart chamber pressures. However, the subsequent suggestion that right heart intracavitary pressure equals, or nearly equals, pericardial surface pressure is not strictly consistent with the physiology of pericardial constraint. If right heart pressure equals pericardial surface pressure, then transmural right heart pressure equals zero. Because of the difficulty in measuring pericardial pressure directly in the beating heart we designed an experiment in the recently arrested canine heart in situ to measure pericardial pressure indirectly and to test the hypothesis that right heart transmural pressure is zero under reasonably physiologic, static equilibrium conditions. According to a static equilibrium analysis of the pressures acting across the walls of the heart, at a given volume the change in right heart pressure caused by removing the pericardium is equal to the pericardial pressure when the pericardium is intact. We found that this drop in pressure caused by pericardiectomy did not equal right heart pressure and therefore that right heart transmural pressure does not equal zero.
- Copyright © 1987 by American Heart Association