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Critical Care

Open Access

The onset of ventricular isovolumetric contraction as reflected in the carotid artery distension waveform

  • M van Houwelingen1,
  • A Hoeks1 and
  • R Reneman1
Critical Care200711(Suppl 2):P316

Published: 22 March 2007


Aortic ValveValve ReplacementInflection PointPressure WaveAortic Root
The blood pressure waveform carries information about the cardiac contraction and the impedance characteristics of the vascular bed. Here, we demonstrate that the start of isovolumic ventricular contraction is persistently reflected as an inflection point in the pressure wave as recorded in the aortic root (TPIC) as well as in the carotid artery distension waveform (TDIC) as it travels down the arterial tree. In a group of six patients with normal pressure gradients across the aortic valve after valve replacement, the TPIC had a small delay with respect to the onset of isovolumic ventricular contraction (<10 ms). In a group (n = 21) of young, presumably healthy, volunteers, the inflection point occurred persistently in the carotid distension waveform, as recorded by means of ultrasound, before the systolic foot (intersubject delay between inflection point and systolic foot: mean ± SD = 40.0 ± 9.4 ms, intrasubject SD 4.6 ms). Retrograde coronary blood flow during isovolumic ventricular contraction may be the origin of the persistent end-diastolic pressure and distension perturbation. This study shows that the duration of the isovolumic contraction can be reliably extracted from the carotid artery distension waveform.

Figure 1

Authors’ Affiliations

University of Maastricht, The Netherlands


© BioMed Central Ltd. 2007