In the Loop—Left Ventricular Pressures

James R. Munis

in Just Enough Physiology

Published on behalf of © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199797790
Published online June 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199929665 | DOI:

Series: Mayo Clinic Scientific Press

In the Loop—Left Ventricular Pressures

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We've already looked at 2 types of pressure that affect physiology (atmospheric and hydrostatic pressure). Now let's consider the third: vascular pressures that result from mechanical events in the cardiovascular system. As you already know, cardiac output can be defined as the product of heart rate times stroke volume. Heart rate is self-explanatory. Stroke volume is determined by 3 factors—preload, afterload, and inotropy—and these determinants are in turn dependent on how the left ventricle handles pressure. In a pressure-volume loop, ‘afterload’ is represented by the pressure at the end of isovolumic contraction—just when the aortic valve opens (because the ventricular pressure is now higher than aortic root pressure). These loops not only are straightforward but are easier to construct just by thinking them through, rather than by memorization.

Chapter.  892 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Professional Development in Medicine

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