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Archive for the ‘cardiology physiology’ Category

LA dimension and volume have become vital parameters in recent times, especially, with the entity of HFpEF is becoming so common. LA not only acts as a live barometer, reflecting all that happens in LV, but it is also a chronic marker of LV diastolic function. (Funnily referred to as HBA1c of diastolic dysfunction) 

What is normal LA dimension & volume ? 

  • Normal left atrial diameter < 4.1 cm in men or < 3.9 cm in women
  • Normal left atrial volume indexed for body surface area (BSA) is 34 ml/m2 for both women and men 

Which part of the cardiac cycle do we measure? 

Ever since Wiggers introduced the overwhelming concept of LV systole and diastole, most of us ignored the fact that atria do have a separate contraction relaxation cycle, independent of what happens in the ventricle. Of course, atria and ventricles act as a single chamber in diastole. In reality, atria lack true boundaries when it acts as a conduit. The LA dimension varies considerably during the atrial cardiac cycle. Look at the  LA pressure-volume loop, which can frighten anyone, with its horizontally lying figure of 8 pattern. During every cardiac cycle, the volume reaches atleast two troughs and one peak.

Don’t get frightened with this graph, spend some time, and you will get it right, Begin at  “3” o clock position with the onset of diastole with a downsloping green loop, that continues as the red line of atrial contraction to end up in systole. The entire black loop, that happens during ventricular systole depicts the true reservoir function. with MV closed. ,

 

As of now, we have a consensus, LA volume is measured typically in LV end-systolic frame. ( Rather, we measure it at maximum LA volume ) However, we have 4 different LA  volumetric components to assess, as this article excellently depicts. (Hoit BD. Left atrial size and function: role in prognosis. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014 Feb 18;63(6):493-505.)

What could be the limitations of the traditional end-systolic measurement?

No single measurement will give an overall LA function assessment. But still, Somehow, we have measured the maximum LA  volume as a reference of true diastolic function. This happens in LV end-systolic point where atria reach the maximum size. But, here is a catch, we assess the left atrial function before its main physiological function of emptying takes place.

How about assessing  LA efficiency after it completes its job, ie end diastole? 

In LV function end-systolic dimension has pride of place as it is devoid of influence from loading condition. If applying the same logic, the “end atrial” systolic dimension(Which is the same as LV end-diastolic point/or post A ) should be perfect. It can also help measure the residual LA volume after its systole.

A potential advantage of LV end-diastolic dimension (The Heart & Soul study )

Maybe, this is less affected in the presence of MR systolic jet will spuriously elevate LA volume. In AF also this parameter is less likely to be influenced by LA preload.

Final message

Suddenly, we are debating a fundamental Issue, ie timing of LA measurement. While the end-systolic size/volume is the current standard, the LA dimension in the end diastole also provides useful info. There are at least 4 different LA volumes, at different parts of the LA cycle that need to be studied for a proper understanding of diastology (Unlike LV which has only two).

Now, we may need to ponder, if there is a mean LA volume, measured with the 3D volumetric analysis or MRI, that could be representative of the global LA function. 

Reference

Thadani SR, Shaw RE, Fang Q, Whooley MA, Schiller NB. Left Atrial End-Diastolic Volume Index as a Predictor of Cardiovascular Outcomes: The Heart and Soul Study. Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2020 Apr;13(4):e009746. doi: 10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.119.009746. Epub 2020 Apr 20. PMID: 32306763; PMCID: PMC8846436.

 

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Ventricular pressure volume loop is an Important ( often feared !) concept to learn for cardiology fellows . . . I would say , It is not that hard to understand !

These loops tell us the secret  hemodynamic story of a 300 gram “mass of muscle” called the heart  and how It handles about 100 ml of blood every beat and successfully ejects around 70 ml into Aorta and Pulmonary artery *

108356heart_beating

While doing this life sustaining job , It would seem the heart muscle  conducts a perfect, non stop, hemodynamic orchestra with 4 electro-mechanically coupled phases which is depicted as classical ventricular pressure volume  loop. Mind you, this loop is plotted pressure volume data from a single heart beat and it can’t be time correlated with heart sounds or ECG as the two parameters loop around in same time cycle.

Watch this animation , carefully and read the appearing annotation that come along with each phase.That should suffice to understand the basic. (For Audio version go the video link in the reference )

Modified from a clipping from Giphy.com.Original source of this Image is not located. Whoever has done this thanks and it’s a great attempt.(I have tried a fusion Image of doppler mitral Inflow in diastole and Aortic pressure curve during ssytole to bring PV loop an anatomical perspective.)

*Note: When we say PV loop it means about by LV by default . We do have seperate RV ,LA (even RA?) PV loops.

Is there clinical application for  PV loops ?

It may not have any direct use , but understanding  how a ventricle works in normal conditions or at distress especially during acute decompensations or after surgery  is vital. With modern gadgets like LV assist devices,  Impella used widely and to assess hemodynamic efficiency of transplanted (Very soon total artificial hearts) , PV loop analysis of both RV/LV will be critical.

Is there any simple Lab modality that can draw this Loop curve instantaneously ?

echocardiography lab methods for ventricular pressure volume loop

 

Very few companies make it . AdInstruments that make power lab monitors, enable us to visualise PV loops invasively .

 

Can we get PV loops non invasively by Echocardiography ?

Echocardiography  provide us both volume  and pressure data.With improving accuracy of data it should be possible to plot the loop manually with some effort. (Still , we can’t get pressure in all points of cardiac cycle )

I guess, sooner 3D volumetric machines with automated online doppler pressure data across the valves  can help us draw the ultimate LV functional  curve live on real time.If that happens cardiologists will be further enriched and hemodynamically enlightened !

Final message

The shape , size , timing and the slopes of this loop  givs us vital info about the functional aspects of ventricle. First one should understand the normal loop , then , we can dwell on the effects of acute and chronic lesions like regurgitations, cardiomyopathy ,cardiogenic shock etc.

Reference 

An excellent knwoledge base on the topic with a  video 

Dr. Richard E. Klabunde, PhD

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