Understanding cardiac physiology – the LV – the thick ventricle


starling curve 003

The cardiac chambers are marked in this CAT-scan image :

RA = right atrium … notice that the RA is engorged with blood (moreso than the RV or the LV).

RV = right ventricle … notice that the RV is thin wall of muscle and is overfilled.

LV = left ventricle … notice that the cross section of the LV is a thick wall of muscle.

The normal capacity of the LV or RV should be 100mls.

The LV is thick because it has to generate high pressures : 120 / 80 mmHg.

The RV is thin walled because it only has to generate a pressure of : 25 / 15 mmHg.

starling curve 002

TEE (TransEsophageal Echocardiography) is the test of choice for a fast evaluation of cardiac chamber

volumes and efficacy of functionality.

CAT scans are great by are time-intensive, labor intensive and costly and with moderate risk.

TEE is fast becoming the tool of choice at bedside in the CTICUs and the ORs.

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