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Preload-adjusted maximal power: a novel index of left ventricular contractility in atrial fibrillation


Background: Left ventricular contractility in atrial fibrillation is known to change in a beat to beat fashion, but there is no gold standard for contractility indices in atrial fibrillation, especially those measured non-invasively.

Objective: To determine whether the non-invasive index of contractility “preload-adjusted PWRmax” (maximal ventricular power divided by the square of end diastolic volume) can accurately measure left ventricular contractility in a beat to beat fashion in atrial fibrillation.

Methods: Atrial fibrillation was induced experimentally using 60 Hz stimulation of the atrium and maintained in 12 sheep; four received diltiazem, four digoxin, and four no drugs (control). Aortic flow, left ventricular volume, and left ventricular pressure were monitored simultaneously. Preload-adjusted PWRmax, the slope of the end systolic pressure–volume relation (Emax), and the maximum rate of change of left ventricular pressure (dP/dtmax) were calculated in a beat to beat fashion.

Results: Preload-adjusted PWRmax correlated linearly with load independent Emax (p < 0.0001) and curvilinearly with load dependent dP/dtmax (p < 0.0001), which suggested the load independence of preload-adjusted PWRmax. After five minutes of diltiazem administration, preload-adjusted PWRmax, dP/dtmax, and Emax fell significantly (p < 0.0001) to 62%, 64%, and 61% of baseline, respectively. Changes were not significant after five minutes of digoxin (103%, 98%, and 102%) or in controls (97%, 96%, and 95%).

Conclusions: Preload-adjusted PWRmax correlates linearly with Emax and is a useful measure of contractility even in atrial fibrillation. Non-invasive application of this method, in combination with echocardiography and tonometry, may yield important information for optimising the treatment of patients with atrial fibrillation.

  • atrial fibrillation
  • preload-adjusted maximal power
  • contractility
  • sheep
  • ABD, automated border detection
  • AIC, Akaike information criteria
  • BIC, Bayesian information criteria
  • Emax, slope of ESPVR
  • ESPVR, end systolic pressure volume relation;
  • dP/dtmax, maximum rate of change in left ventricular pressure
  • PWRmax
  • maximal ventricular power
  • VED
  • end diastolic volume

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