Right ventricular function at rest and during exercise was examined in a group of patients with symptomatic aortic or mitral valve disease, or both. The right ventricular ejection fraction was less than 45% in 22 of 36 patients at rest and in 12 of 17 subjects at symptomlimited, supine bicycle exercise. The right ventricular ejection fraction failed to increase more than 5% with exercise in 17 of 17 patients. The central venous pressure was greater than 5 mm Hg in 18 of 36 patients at rest and in 13 of 17 patients at maximal exercise. There was a significant inverse relation between rest right ventricular ejection fraction and mean pulmonary artery pressure (r = −0.47, p < 0.05) and between rest right ventricular ejection fraction and mean central venous pressure (r = −0.39, p < 0.05). There was no significant relation between the exercise values of these variables. In individual patients, the changes in right ventricular ejection fraction and pulmonary artery pressure with graded exercise were nonlinear. It is concluded that right ventricular function is not a simple function of pulmonary artery pressure at rest or during exercise in aortic and mitral valve disease. Less than one-quarter of the variation in right ventricular ejection fraction at rest can be explained by the variation in pulmonary artery pressure, and the finding of a normal (>45%) right ventricular ejection fraction does not reliably exclude the possibility of pulmonary hypertension in a patient with valvular heart disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine