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The Effect of Right Ventricular Dysfunction on Left Ventricular Form and Function

Joseph S. Alpert, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Tuscon, AZ 
 ,  Dr. Alpert is Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn Professor of Medicine, Head, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona Health Science Center, Tucson, AZ.

Correspondence to: Joseph S. Alpert, MD, FCCP, Robert S. and Irene P. Flinn Professor of Medicine, Head, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona Health Science Center, 1501 North Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85724-5024



Chest. 2001;119(6):1632-1633. doi:10.1378/chest.119.6.1632
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Extract

It is a platitude known to all second-year medical students that the most common cause of right ventricular failure is left ventricular failure. It is decidedly less well known that right ventricular dysfunction has an effect on left ventricular form and function. In 1910, the French physiologist P. I. Bernheim postulated an interaction between the left and right ventricles such that an alteration in the function of one ventricle led to an alteration in the function of the other ventricle.1 He specifically proposed that left ventricular dilatation or hypertrophy would cause the right ventricle to be compressed with a resultant decrease in right ventricular function. Today, we know what Bernheim did not know, that decreased right ventricular function secondary to left ventricular dilatation/hypertrophy is the result of increased right ventricular afterload secondary to passive pulmonary hypertension (elevated left ventricular filling pressure leads to increased pulmonary arterial diastolic and systolic pressures).

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