The relation of global and regional right and left ventricular function during the acute phase after a first myocardial infarction was assessed by first pass radionuclide angiography in 20 patients (10 after anterior and 10 after inferior myocardial infarction). The right ventricular ejection fraction did not differ significantly between the groups, but left ventricular ejection fraction was significantly depressed after anterior myocardial infarction. There was evidence of right ventricular dilatation and impaired transit in the group with inferior infarction. Five patients with anterior infarction and six with inferior infarction had abnormal right ventricular ejection fractions. Right ventricular wall motion abnormalities affected the septal wall in the group with anterior infarction and the free wall in the group with inferior infarction. The relation between right and left ventricular ejection fractions was markedly different in the two groups. In the group with anterior infarction there was a significant linear relation between right and left ventricular ejection fraction, whereas in the group with inferior infarction there was not. Thus right ventricular dysfunction commonly occurs after both anterior and inferior myocardial infarction. Right and left ventricular impairment are related after anterior myocardial infarction, but are independent after inferior myocardial infarction. Finally, the different effects of anterior and inferior myocardial infarction on right ventricular function may be explained by differences in septal and free wall involvement.
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