Evidence of adverse ventricular interdependence in patients with atrial septal defects
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Right ventricular (RV) volume overload is associated with left ventricular (LV) distortion and dysfunction. The availability of transcatheter device closure of secundum atrial septal defect (ASD) provides an ideal model for investigating the immediate effects of elimination of RV volume overload and avoiding the confounding effects of surgery on LV function. Echocardiograms before and after device closure of ASD were analyzed for ejection fraction, percent changes in cross-sectional area and circumference, percent changes in free wall and septal endocardial lengths, and eccentricity. We enrolled 34 patients (median age 9 years) who underwent device closure of ASD (pulmonary to systemic shunt 1.6 +/- 0.4). Ejection fraction and LV end-diastolic volume, reflective of chamber preload, were significantly decreased in the presence of RV volume overload and normalized after defect closure with normalization of LV shape. Altered LV geometry secondary to RV volume overload was associated with regional variation in preload,such that diastolic circumference, a surrogate of myofiber preload, increased after closure of ASD secondary to a small increase in LV free wall arc length in conjunction with a much more significant increase in septal length. Thus, LV dysfunction associated with RV volume overload is secondary to altered chamber geometry and decreased myofiber preload. This physiology is immediately reversible and is independent of heart rate and afterload.