The normal right ventricular pressure-volume relation was studied by recording biplane right ventriculograms with simultaneous high fidelity pressure recordings in 10 adults found to have normal coronary arteries and haemodynamic function at diagnostic cardiac catheterisation. Right ventricular volume was measured frame by frame from digitised ventriculograms by a modification of Simpson's rule. The accuracy of this method was tested in a study of 22 human and animal right ventricular casts. There was excellent agreement between calculated volumes and those measured by fluid displacement. The derived regression equations were used to correct right ventricular volumes calculated from in vivo studies. The mean (SD) end diastolic volume index for the group was 62 (13) ml/m2, the stroke volume index was 43 (8) ml/m2, and the ejection fraction was 62 (6)%. Right ventricular pressure-volume loops were generated by combining simultaneous volume and pressure curves. The normal right ventricular pressure-volume loop was triangular, departing significantly from the square or rectangle of the normal left ventricular pressure-volume loop. Ejection from the right ventricle began early during the pressure rise and continued as right ventricular pressure fell. As a result phases of isovolumic contraction and relaxation were difficult to define. These observations show that normal right ventricular pressure-volume relations differ considerably from those of the normal left ventricle, presumably reflecting the different loading conditions of the two ventricles.
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