Left atrial contribution to ventricular filling during the course of evolving heart failure.
BACKGROUND Abnormal left ventricular (LV) filling has been observed in patients with heart failure and is characterized by marked heterogeneity of mitral inflow velocity. In the present study, the contribution of the left atrium to LV filling was examined in eight dogs during the course of evolving heart failure.
METHODS AND RESULTS Heart failure was produced by multiple sequential intracoronary embolizations with microspheres. Pulsed Doppler echocardiography was used to measure mitral inflow velocity at baseline, before embolization, and at 3, 8, 15, 23, and 33 weeks after initiation of microembolization. The early rapid LV filling (Ei) and late left atrial filling (Ai) components were quantitated based on the time-velocity integral of the early and late mitral inflow velocity waveforms, respectively. Ei decreased progressively from 7.6 +/- 1.5 cm at baseline to 4.0 +/- 0.4 cm at 33 weeks (p less than 0.01). In contrast, Ai initially increased from 1.8 +/- 0.9 cm at baseline to 2.7 +/- 0.4 cm at 3 weeks (p less than 0.01) and subsequently decreased gradually to below baseline values reaching 0.8 +/- 0.4 cm at 33 weeks (p less than 0.01). These temporal changes of Ei and Ai were accompanied by a gradual reduction of LV ejection fraction (56 +/- 5% versus 22 +/- 2%) (p less than 0.01) (baseline versus 33 weeks) and by a gradual increase of LV end-diastolic wall stress (24 +/- 7 versus 92 +/- 8 g/cm2) (p less than 0.01), left atrial dimension (2.4 +/- 0.2 cm to 3.3 +/- 0.3 cm) (p less than 0.01), and left atrial fractional shortening (22 +/- 3% versus 15 +/- 2%) (p less than 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS The initial rise in left atrium contribution to LV filling may represent a compensatory response to the diminution of the rapid early component of LV filling. With further progression of LV dysfunction, the left atrium contribution to LV filling gradually decreased. This reduction may be mediated by increased workload imposed on the left atrial myocardium due to increased LV diastolic wall stress, which, over time, may have lead to intrinsic left atrium dysfunction.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association