The importance of capillary density–stroke work mismatch for right ventricular adaptation to chronic pressure overload

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Objective:Mechanisms of right ventricular (RV) adaptation to chronic pressure overload are not well understood. We hypothesized that a lower capillary density (CD) to stroke work ratio would be associated with more fibrosis and RV maladaptive remodeling.Methods:We induced RV chronic pressure overload over a 20-week period in 2 piglet models of pulmonary hypertension; that is, a shunt model (n = 5) and a chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension model (n = 5). We assessed hemodynamic parameters and RV remodeling as well as RV CD, fibrosis, and angiogenic factors expression.Results:Although RV was similarly hypertrophied in both models, maladapted RV remodeling with impaired systolic function was only seen in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension group members who had lower CD (484 ± 99 vs 1213 ± 74 cap/mm2; P < .01), lower CD to stroke work ratio (0.29 ± 0.07 vs 0.82 ± 0.16; P = .02), higher myocardial fibrosis (15.4% ± 3.8% vs 8.0% ± 2.5%; P < .01), as well as a higher angiogenic and fibrosis factors expression.Conclusions:The RV adaptive response to chronic pressure overload differs between 2 different piglet models of PH. Mismatch between angiogenesis and workload (CD to stroke work ratio) was associated with greater degree of myocardial fibrosis and RV dysfunction and could be a promising index of RV maladaptation. Further studies are needed to understand the underlying mechanisms.

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