The importance of pericardial constraint in experimental pulmonary embolism and volume loading.

American heart journal

PubMedID: 1539525

Belenkie I, Dani R, Smith ER, Tyberg JV. The importance of pericardial constraint in experimental pulmonary embolism and volume loading. Am Heart J. 1992;123(3):733-42.
To clarify the magnitude of the contribution of pericardial constraint to the hemodynamic deterioration that is observed during acute pulmonary embolism, hemodynamics and chamber dimensions (sonomicrometry) were measured during pulmonary embolization and subsequent volume loading in six anesthetized and instrumented open-chest, open-pericardium dogs. Embolization markedly increased peak right ventricular systolic pressure (38 +/- 5 mm Hg before embolism to 64 +/- 12 mm Hg after repeated embolization, p less than 0.05). However, right ventricular stroke volume decreased by only an insignificant amount (17 +/- 7 ml to 15 +/- 6 ml, p = not significant). Indices of left ventricular end-diastolic volume (left ventricular area = anteroposterior x septum-to-left ventricle free wall diameters) and stroke work (stroke work = area of the left ventricular pressure-area loop) were also similar before and after repeated embolization. Volume loading after repeated embolization resulted in increased right ventricular stroke volume (15 +/- 6 ml to 20 +/- 4 ml, p = 0.06), left ventricular area (3320 +/- 600 mm2 to 3470 +/- 580 mm2, p less than 0.05) and stroke work (261 +/- 158 mm Hg to 425 +/- 170 mm Hg x mm2, p less than 0.05). These results are in marked contrast to those in a previously reported study in a closed-chest and closed-pericardium model in which there was a decrease in left ventricular preload and systolic function after similar embolization-induced right ventricular pressure loading. Moreover, there was a further decrease in these parameters as a result of volume loading after embolism in the closed pericardium experiments. In conclusion, pericardial constraint contributes to hemodynamic deterioration during both acute right ventricular pressure loading and subsequent volume loading. The hemodynamic response to both interventions in the intact animal is determined not only by the degree of right ventricular dysfunction but also by the degree of direct ventricular interaction.