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Can J Cardiol. 1996 Oct;12(10):1058-64.

Ventricular interaction and venous capacitance modulate left ventricular preload.

Author information

  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Alberta. jtyberg@cvr.ucalgary.ca


The concept of left ventricular (LV) 'preload' has seemed simple and straightforward. Similarly, the capacitance function of the veins seemed to be defined, in spite of the fact that 'venous return' might be said to be increased in heart failure when it was obvious that cardiac output was substantially decreased. In studies during the past several years, we have demonstrated that pericardial pressure, as a major modulator of ventricular interaction, must be accounted for before preload, myocardial compliance or contractility can be assessed reliably. Also, using a new conceptual model based on venous pressure-volume relations that explains how changes in venous capacitance modulate ventricular preload, we have defined the comparative capacitance-conductance effects of various vasodilators in a model of heart failure. We conclude that left ventricular preload is significantly modulated by both changes in ventricular interaction and venous capacitance. To optimize the care of patients with heart disease, it is important to understand both these mechanisms.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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