Determinants of hemodynamic compromise with severe right ventricular infarction

James A. Goldstein, Benico Barzilai, Thomas L. Rosamond, Paul R. Eisenberg, Allan S. Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Scopus citations


To elucidate determinants of hemodynamic compromise in patients with acute right ventricular (RV) infarction, we studied 16 patients with hemodynamically severe RV infarction by right heart catheterization and two-dimensional ultrasound. Severe RV systolic dysfunction, evident by ultrasound in all patients as RV dilatation and depressed RV free wall motion, was associated with a broad sluggish RV waveform, diminished peak RV systolic pressure (27.6±4.5 mm Hg), and depressed RV stroke work (4.6±2.4 g·m/m2). Paradoxical septal motion was consistently noted. In some cases, the septum bulged into the right ventricle in a pistonlike fashion and appeared to mediate systolic ventricular interaction through which left ventricular septal contraction contributed to RV pressure generation. RV diastolic dysfunction was indicated by elevated RV end-diastolic pressures (13.7±2.7 mm Hg), RV "dip and plateau," equalization of diastolic filling pressures, and reversal of diastolic septal curvature toward the volume-deprived left ventricle. A prominent right atrial (RA) X and blunted Y descent, indicative of impairment of RV filling throughout diastole, were confirmed in all patients by their relation to RV systolic events. Patients manifested one of two distinct RA waveform morphologies differentiated by A wave amplitude and associated with disparate clinical courses. In eight patients, an RA W pattern was evident, characterized by augmented A waves; eight others manifested an M pattern constituted by depressed A waves. Compared with those with an M pattern, patients with a W pattern had higher peak RV pressures (29.6±3.8 versus 25.5±4.3 mm Hg, p<0.05), better cardiac output (3.4±0.3 versus 2.9±0.7 l/min, p<0.05), more favorable response to volume and inotropes, and less frequently required emergency revascularization for refractory shock (none versus five for those with an M pattern). Patients with a W pattern were more severely compromised if atrioventricular dyssynchrony developed and were more dramatically improved by restoration of physiological rhythm. Angiography in patients with depressed A waves demonstrated more proximal coronary obstruction leading to ischemic compromise of RA function, whereas in those with augmented A waves, the culprit lesion was proximal to the RV but distal to the RA branches. These results indicate that hemodynamic compromise in patients with RV infarction is exacerbated by deceased preload reserve that is dependent on atrial systole. The amplitude of the RA A wave, an indication of the status of RA function, is an important determinant of RV performance and hemodynamic compromise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-368
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1990


  • Diastolic ventricular interaction
  • Right atrial infarction
  • Right ventricular infarction
  • Systolic ventricular interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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