Papillary Muscles Do Not Attach Directly to the Solid Heart Wall

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The papillary muscles (PMs) play an important role in normal cardiac function, helping to prevent leakage through the AV valves during systole. The nature of their attachment to the heart wall can affect the understanding of their function. This attachment is conventionally portrayed as a direct connection of their bases to the solid portion of the heart wall. X-ray multidetector CT provides a new, noninvasive way to investigate this connection in vivo.

Methods and Results—

With the use of x-ray multidetector CT with interactive 3D reconstruction, the bases of the PMs are seen to attach to the trabeculae carneae lining the ventricular wall rather than directly to the solid portion of the wall, as has been conventionally believed. This is true for both the left and right ventricular PMs.


This new picture of the geometry of the attachment of the PMs to the heart wall may have important implications for the understanding of their function, including the nature of the transmission of the forces between the PMs and the heart wall.

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