Morphologic Analysis of the Normal Right Ventricle Using Three-Dimensional Echocardiography–Derived Curvature Indices

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Abstract

Background

Right ventricular (RV) remodeling involves changes in size, wall thickness, function, and shape. Previous studies have suggested that regional curvature indices (rCI) may be useful for RV shape analysis. The aim of this study was to establish normal three-dimensional echocardiographic values of rCI in a large group of healthy subjects to facilitate future three-dimensional echocardiographic study of adverse RV remodeling.

Methods

RV endocardial surfaces were reconstructed at end-diastole and end-systole in 245 healthy subjects (mean age, 42 ± 12 years) and analyzed using custom software to calculate mean curvature in six regions: RV inflow tract (RVIT) and RV outflow tract, apex, and body (both divided into free wall and septal regions). Associations with age and gender were studied.

Results

The apical free wall was convex, while the septum (apex and body) was more concave than the body free wall. Septal curvature did not change significantly from end-diastole to end-systole. The RV outflow tract and RVIT became flatter from end-diastole to end-systole. In keeping with the “bellows-like” action of RV contraction, the body free wall became flatter, while the apex free wall changed to a more convex surface. There were no intergender differences in rCI. In older subjects (≥55 years of age), the RV free wall and RV outflow tract were flatter, and from end-diastole to end-systole, the RVIT became less flattened and the apex less pointed. These changes suggest that the right ventricle is stiffer in older subjects, with less dynamic contraction of the RVIT and less bellows-like movement.

Conclusions

This study established normal three-dimensional echocardiographic values for RV rCI, which are needed to further study RV diastolic dysfunction and remodeling with disease.

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