The Pressure-Volume Relation

  • Nicolaas Westerhof
  • Nikolaos Stergiopulos
  • Mark I. M. Noble
  • Berend E. Westerhof


The ventricular pressure-volume relation, is an important presentation of global cardiac pump function. With every heart beat a full pressure-volume loop is described. When ventricular filling is changed, another loop starting from a different End-Diastolic Pressure and End-Diastolic Volume is described. The left top corners of the pressure-volume loops, i.e., the End-Systolic points, when interconnected, and approximated with a straight line give the End-Systolic Pressure-Volume relation, ESPVR, with its slope called Ees. The Ees is independent of the (arterial) load and determined by systolic muscle properties (contractility) and wall mass. The Diastolic Pressure-Volume Relation is found by connecting the End-Diastolic Pressure and Volume points. The relation depends on diastolic muscle properties and wall thickness; the relation has considerable curvature but can be fitted with an exponential relation and its slope at end-diastole is End-Diastolic Elastance, Ed. Filling changes in vivo can be obtained by partial vena cava occlusions. So-called ‘single beat’ methods have been developed to derive Ees and Ed.


Pressure-Volume loop End-Systolic Elastance End-Diastolic Elastance Frank-Starling Hypertrophy Single beat method 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicolaas Westerhof
    • 1
  • Nikolaos Stergiopulos
    • 2
  • Mark I. M. Noble
    • 3
  • Berend E. Westerhof
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Amsterdam Cardiovascular SciencesVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Laboratory of Hemodynamics and Cardiovascular TechnologyEcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institute of BioengineeringLausanneSwitzerland
  3. 3.Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine and TherapeuticsUniversity of AberdeenAberdeenUnited Kingdom

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