Right Ventricular Function

  • P. Foëx
Conference paper
Part of the Update in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine book series (UICM, volume 1)


It is only relatively recently that acute right ventricular dysfunction has been recognised in critically ill patients and has been considered to be an important determinant of the overal effect of acute illnesses, especially respiratory failure, on the circulation. Marked abnormalities in cardiovascular function have been identified in patients with respiratory failure. These include pulmonary arterial hypertension, elevated pulmonary vascular resistance and depressed right and left ventricular performance. Intermittent positive pressure ventilation, particulary when associated with positive end-expiratory pressure improves arterial oxygenation but may exert adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. It is, therefore, important to examine the determinants of right ventricular function. However, because in an unstressed state, the right ventricle resembles a passive conduit more than a pump, its physiology has been studied much less extensively than that of the left ventricle. Understanding the anatomy, coronary physiology, and interrelationships with the left ventricle and surrounding structures is necessary to understand the function of the right ventricle in acute illnesses.


Left Ventricle Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Outflow Tract Coronary Blood Flow Ventricular Contraction 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1986

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  • P. Foëx

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