Cardiac Mechanics Revisited: The Relationship of Cardiac Architecture to Ventricular Function

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The keynote to understanding cardiac function is recognizing the underlying architecture responsible for the contractile mechanisms that produce the narrowing, shortening, lengthening, widening, and twisting disclosed by echocardiographic and magnetic resonance technology. Despite background knowledge of a spiral clockwise and counterclockwise arrangement of muscle fibers, issues about the exact architecture, interrelationships, and function of the different sets of muscle fibers remain to be resolved. This report (1) details observed patterns of cardiac dynamic directional and twisting motions via multiple imaging sources; (2) summarizes the deficiencies of correlations between ventricular function and known ventricular muscle architecture; (3) correlates known cardiac motions with the functional anatomy within the helical ventricular myocardial band; and (4) defines an innovative muscular systolic mechanism that challenges the previously described concept of “isovolumic relaxation.” This new knowledge may open new doors to treating heart failure due to diastolic dysfunction.

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