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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The influence of low afterload on the nature of the stress-velocity relationship.

OBJECTIVES: Correct assessment of contractility by conventional methods during manipulation of afterload is often disappointing. To this purpose, the stress-velocity relationship offers assessment of contractility at different levels of afterload. We decided to study the influence of afterload on the nature of the stress-velocity relation. BACKGROUND: Although linear at baseline conditions in a population older than two years, data in newborns or after administration of low-dose dobutamine suggest a different nature of this relationship at low afterload. METHODS: Ten healthy piglets (five to six weeks; 11 to 13 kg) were studied. End-systolic meridional wall stress (ESWS) and rate-corrected velocity of circumferential fiber shortening (VcFc) were measured in these piglets at baseline, after balloon occlusion of the descending aorta, and at nitroprusside infusion rates of 1, 2 and 5 microg/kg/min. To eliminate inotropic influences mediated by reflex tachycardia, we subsequently studied five piglets and six adult pigs after bilateral cervical vagotomy. RESULTS: The ESWS changed from a baseline mean of 50 g/cm2 to 137 g/cm2 after balloon occlusion and to 19 g/cm2 at 5 microg/kg/min of nitroprusside. The VcFc changed from 1.19 c/s (circumference/second) to values of 0.9 c/s and 1.73 c/s, respectively. The ensuing stress-velocity regression line proved to be curvilinear instead of linear. The steeper slope at low afterload could suggest enhanced contractility compared to expected values had the relationship been linear. CONCLUSIONS: Data from young piglets and adult pigs suggest a curvilinear relationship of the stress-velocity relationship. This could probably explain some of the "hypercontractile states" encountered in conditions with low afterload.[1]


  1. The influence of low afterload on the nature of the stress-velocity relationship. De Wolf, D., Foubert, L., Van Belleghem, Y., Mareels, K., Matthys, D., Verhaaren, H., Van Nooten, G. J. Am. Coll. Cardiol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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