, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 215-224,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Mechano-energetics of the asynchronous and resynchronized heart

Abstract

Abnormal electrical activation of the ventricles creates major abnormalities in cardiac mechanics. Local contraction patterns, as reflected by measurements of local strain, are not only out of phase, but often also show opposing length changes in early and late activated regions. As a consequence, the efficiency of cardiac pump function (the amount of stroke work generated by a unit of oxygen consumed) is approximately 30% lower in asynchronous than in synchronous hearts. Moreover, the amount of work performed in myocardial segments becomes considerably larger in late than in early activated regions. Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) improves mechano-energetics of the previously asynchronous heart in various ways: it alleviates impediment of the abnormal contraction on blood flow, it increases myocardial efficiency, it recruits contraction in the previously early activated septum and it creates a more uniform distribution of myocardial blood flow. These factors act together to increase the range of cardiac work that can be delivered by the patients’ heart, an effect that can explain the increased exercise tolerance and quality of life reported in several CRT trials.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10741-011-9227-5