Assessing Ventricular Function

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


The ventricular function curve relates cardiac output or stroke work with end-diastolic ventricular volume, end-diastolic ventricular pressure, or atrial filling pressure. Both Cardiac Output and Stroke Work are used as dependent variables. The Ventricular Function Curve is often obtained under conditions where the arterial load changes together with the ventricular filling. This means that a changed Ventricular Function Curve includes both cardiac and arterial changes. Thus while the Ventricular Function Curve can explain in vivo adjustments of the heart and the circulation, it is not a characterization of the heart alone.

The (maximal) time derivative of ventricular pressure before valve opening is a load-independent measure of ventricular contractility. The (maximal) negative value of the time derivative is a measure of muscle relaxation. Preload recruitable Stroke Work is considered load-independent, and its slope a measure of contractility


Ventricular function curve (Maximal) time derivative of ventricular pressure (Maximal) negative time derivative of pressure Preload recruitable stroke work Cardiac pacing 


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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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