Diastolic ventricular interaction: from physiology to clinical practice

Lynne Williams, Michael Frenneaux

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18 Citations (Scopus)


The ventricles share a common septum and, therefore, the filling of one influences the compliance of the other. This phenomenon is known as direct diastolic ventricular interaction. The interaction is noticeably increased when the force exerted by the surrounding pericardium is raised, which is termed pericardial constraint. In healthy individuals, pericardial constraint is minor in the resting state. When right ventricular volume-to-pressure ratio acutely increases, however, such as during exercise, massive pulmonary embolism, or right ventricular infarction, notable diastolic ventricular interaction occurs. In this setting, the measured left ventricular intracavitary diastolic pressure overestimates the true left ventricular filling pressure, because the effect of external forces must be subtracted. Although growth of the pericardium can be a feature of chronic cardiac enlargement, here we review the evidence of the importance of diastolic ventricular interaction in certain acute and chronic disease processes, including heart failure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-76
Number of pages9
JournalNature Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Animals
  • Diastole
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Contraction

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