The influence of nitroglycerin, postextrasystolic potentiation, and rapid ventricular pacing on total and regional ventricular function was studied in 32 patients with normal ventricular function and in 44 patients with left ventricular asynergy caused by obstructive coronary artery disease. Total ventricular function was assessed by ventriculography and regional ventricular function was analysed by use of 7 hemiaxes. Nitroglycerin increased ejection fraction and decreased left ventricular systolic and end-diastolic pressures in the normally functioning ventricles; apical wall motion increased, while basal wall motion remained unchanged after nitroglycerin in these ventricles. Pressures fell significantly in ventricles with asynergy after nitroglycerin; ejection fraction decreased while wall motion in asynergic areas was inconsistently influenced. Postextrasystolic potentiation augmented ejection fraction by a powerful and homogeneous increase of wall motion in normally functioning ventricles. Asynergic areas and normal areas in diseased ventricles showed identical augmentation of wall motion after a premature beat. Rapid venticular pacing produced a significant increase in end-diastolic pressure and a fall in ejection fraction in patients with obstructive coronary artery disease. Wall motion in normal areas perfused by arteries with critical stenoses was dramatically depressed after pacing, while asynergic areas and normal areas perfused by normal arteries remained unchanged. The results show that normal contractile behaviour can be detected by postextrasystolic potentiation in asynergic areas, suggesting that some normally perfused muscle exists in these areas. Pacing stress does not further deteriorate function in asynergic areas, which suggests the presence of viable and well perfused muscle (within scar tissue) whose function may not profit from revascularization. Pacing-induced asynergy identifies the functional significance of coronary stenoses and suggests that bypass surgery might be beneficial.
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