Are contraction and relaxation coupled in patients with and without congestive heart failure?
BACKGROUND Although changes in contractility are often accompanied by changes in relaxation, a mathematical model of ventricular coupling has not been described. A model we examined suggests a hyperbolic relation between measurements of contraction and relaxation. We thus tested the hypothesis that relatively load-independent measurements of contractility (end-systolic elastance [Ees]) and relaxation (the slope of the tau-to-end-systolic pressure relation [R]) were coupled.
METHODS AND RESULTS To establish the validity of the model, an assessment of Ees and R was made in 30 subjects who underwent sequential digital ventriculography and micromanometer pressure measurements during atrial pacing (93 +/- 10 min-1) before and after graded doses of nitroprusside. To establish if a cyclic AMP (cAMP)-mediated intervention alters coupling, seven of the 30 subjects were studied before and after 3 months of beta-blockade. To determine if a non-cAMP-mediated intervention alters coupling, 12 other patients were studied before and after deslanoside. Nonlinear regression analysis for the initial 30 patients suggested a hyperbolic relation: (Ees) (R) = 1.05 (r = 0.79, p less than 0.001) with an inflection point near Ees = 1.02 mm Hg/ml. Thus, with normal or near-normal contractility, relaxation is normal and not load dependent (R is close to 0). With systolic dysfunction, relaxation becomes very afterload dependent and so must be normalized for load. After long-term beta-blockade in patients with severe left ventricular dysfunction, small improvements in contractility (elastance) occurred with larger changes in relaxation, but the curve describing the relation was not displaced. Acute administration of deslanoside resulted in a large increase in elastance and a smaller change in relaxation but did not alter coupling. However, the magnitude of the change in R was dependent on the predrug R value.
CONCLUSIONS These data suggest contraction and relaxation may be physiologically coupled with relaxation relatively preserved in early heart failure and more rapid deterioration in relaxation as elastance falls under 1.02 mm Hg/ml. Both beta-blockers (which may act through cAMP) and digitalis (which is cAMP independent) improve contraction and relaxation, but both mechanisms appear to maintain coupling. The hyperbolic relation between contraction and relaxation may have important implications regarding therapeutic response and selection of patients for clinical trials in heart failure.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association