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Different effects of abnormal activation and myocardial disease on left ventricular ejection and filling times
  1. Q Zhou,
  2. M Henein,
  3. A Coats,
  4. D Gibson
  1. Department of Cardiology, Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, Royal Brompton Hospital, Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP, UK
  1. Dr Gibson email: qzhou{at}


BACKGROUND Ventricular activation is often abnormal in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, but its specific effects on timing remain undetermined.

OBJECTIVE To investigate the use of the ratio of the sum of left ventricular ejection and filling times to the total RR interval (Z ratio) to dissociate the effects of abnormal activation from those of cavity dilatation.

METHODS Subjects were 20 normal individuals, 11 patients with isolated left bundle branch block (LBBB, QRS duration > 120 ms), 17 with dilated cardiomyopathy and normal activation, and 23 with dilated cardiomyopathy and LBBB. An additional 30 patients (nine with normal ventricular systolic function and 21 with dilated cardiomyopathy) were studied before and after right ventricular pacing. Left ventricular ejection and filling times were measured by pulsed wave Doppler and cavity size by M mode echocardiography.

RESULTS Z ratio was independent of RR interval in all groups. Mean (SD) Z ratio was 82 (10)% for normal subjects, 66 (10)% for isolated LBBB (p < 0.01v normal), 77 (7)% for dilated cardiomyopathy without LBBB (NS v normal), and 61 (7)% for dilated cardiomyopathy with LBBB (p < 0.01v normal). In the nine patients with normal left ventricular size and QRS duration, Z ratio fell from 88 (6)% in sinus rhythm to 77 (10)% with right ventricular pacing (p = 0.26). In the 21 patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and LBBB, Z ratio rose from 59 (10)% in sinus rhythm to 74 (9)% with right ventricular DDD pacing (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS Z ratio dissociates the effects of abnormal ventricular activation and systolic disease. It also clearly differentiates right ventricular pacing from LBBB. It may thus be useful in comparing the haemodynamic effects of different pacing modes in patients with or without left ventricular disease.

  • dilated cardiomyopathy
  • pacemaker
  • left bundle branch block
  • echocardiography.

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