Ventricular rotation and the rotation axis a new concept in cardiac function

University dissertation from Umeå : Umeå university

Abstract: Background: The twisting motion of the left ventricle (LV), with clockwise rotation at the base and counter clockwise rotation at the apex during systole, is a vital part of LV function. Even though LV rotation has been studied for decades, the rotation pattern has not been described in detail. By the introduction of speckle tracking echocardiography measuring rotation has become easy of access. However, the axis around which the LV rotates has never before been assessed. The aims of this thesis were to describe the rotation pattern of the LV in detail (study I), to assess RV apical rotation (study II), develop a method to assess the rotation axis (study III) and finally to study the effect of regional ischemia to the rotation pattern of the LV (study IV).Methods: Healthy humans were examined in study I-III and the final study populations were 40 (60±14 years), 14 (62±11 years) and 39 (57±16 years) subjects, respectively. In study IV six young pigs (32-40kg) were studied. Standard echocardiographic examinations were performed. In study IV the images were recorded before and 4 minutes after occlusion of left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD). Rotation was measured in short axis images by using a speckle tracking software. By development of custom software, the rotation axis of the LV was calculated at different levels in every image frame throughout the cardiac cycle.Results: Study I showed significant difference in rotation between basal and apical rotations, as well as significant differences between segments at basal and mid ventricular levels. The rotation pattern of the LV was associated with different phases of the cardiac cycle. Study II found significant difference in rotation between the LV and the RV. RV rotation was heterogeneous and bi-directional, creating a ´tightening belt action´ to reduce it circumference. Study III indicated that the new method could assess the rotation axis of the LV. The motion of the rotation axes in healthy humans displayed a physiological and consistent pattern. Study IV found a significant difference in the rotation pattern, between baseline and after LAD occlusion, by measuring the rotation axes, but not by conventional measurements of rotation. AV-plane displacement and wall motion score (WMS) were also significantly changed after inducing regional ischemia.Conclusion: There are normally large regional differences in LV rotation, which can be associated anatomy, activation pattern and cardiac phases, indicating its importance to LV function. In difference to the LV, the RV did not show any functional rotation. However, its heterogeneous circumferential motion could still be of importance to RV function and may in part be the result of ventricular interaction. The rotation axis of the LV can now be assessed by development of a new method, which gives a unique view of the rotation pattern. The quality measurements and results in healthy humans indicate that it has a potential clinical implication in identifying pathological rotation. This was supported by the experimental study showing that the rotation axis was more sensitive than traditional measurements of rotation and as sensitive as AV-plane displacement and WMS in detecting regional myocardial dysfunction.