The Pump Function Graph

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


The heart as a pump can be described by the pump function graph, the relation between mean ventricular pressure, and Cardiac Output. A pump function graph completely describes the heart as a pump and is similar to the characterization of industrial pumps and ventricular assist devices. When the load on the heart is increased, it will generate a higher pressure but a smaller Cardiac Output, and vice versa, resulting in a curved inverse relation. Increased contractility ‘rotates’ the pump function graph around the intercept with the flow axis. When diastolic filling and/or Heart Rate is increased, the pump function graph shifts in an ‘outward’ manner. The working point, i.e., the pressure and flow during normal function at rest, is found at maximal cardiac efficiency. The cardiac pump function graph is related with the force-velocity relation of muscle (see Chap. 13), and also with the end-systolic pressure-volume relationship (Chap. 14).


Cardiac pump function Hypertrophy Frank Starling Exercise Cardiac efficiency 


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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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