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Clin Cardiol. 1983 Nov;6(11):534-41.

Large V waves in the pulmonary capillary wedge pressure tracing without mitral regurgitation: the influence of the pressure/volume relationship on the V wave size.


We have previously demonstrated that a large V wave in the pulmonary capillary wedge tracing may occur in the absence of mitral regurgitation. This study evaluates the role of left atrial and pulmonary vein compliance on such a finding. We studied 11 patients with coronary disease, without clinical or angiographic mitral regurgitation. Heart rate, pulmonary capillary wedge mean, A and V waves, V-wave slope, left ventricular and aortic pressures, cardiac output, and left atrial echo and apical phonocardiogram were recorded simultaneously. Preload was modified acutely by volume overload and by the administration of i.v. nitroglycerine. Volume administration induced a marked increase in V-wave pressure (13.0 +/- 9.6 vs. 27.0 +/- 9.6 mmHg, p less than 0.05), without producing mitral regurgitation, and without appreciable change in left atrial dimension by echo (33.0 +/- 4.9 vs. 35.5 +/- 5.2 mm, NS), or stroke volume (101.7 +/- 26.2 vs. 97.8 +/- 34.3 ml, NS). An increase was also seen in the A wave (13.6 +/- 8.9 vs. 23.3 +/- 8.5 mmHg, p less than 0.05), pulmonary capillary wedge mean pressure (9.8 +/- 7.2 vs. 20.6 +/- 7.8 mmHg, p less than 0.05), and left ventricular diastolic pressure (7.4 +/- 5.5 vs. 14.6 +/- 6.3 mmHg, p less than 0.05). All values returned to baseline after nitroglycerine. The compliance of the left atrium/pulmonary veins decreased with increasing pulmonary capillary wedge pressures. With large filling volumes, a small stroke volume brings on a large pressure change, thus explaining the finding of large V waves in patients with elevated pulmonary capillary wedge pressure and without mitral regurgitation.

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