Dysfunction of the interventricular septum has been implicated in right ventricular (RV) failure. However, little is known about the relationship between ventricular septal and RV function in patients without clinical cardiovascular disease. We hypothesized that better septal function would be associated with higher RV ejection fraction and lower RV mass and volume by cardiac MRI.
In the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), cardiac MRI was performed on community-based participants without clinical cardiovascular disease. Images were analyzed by the harmonic phase method to measure peak circumferential systolic midventricular strain for each wall (anterior, lateral, inferior, and septal). Multivariable linear regression and generalized additive models were used to assess the relationship between septal strain and RV morphology.
There were 917 participants (45.7% women) with a mean age of 65.7 years. Better septal function was associated with higher RV ejection fraction in a nonlinear fashion after adjustment for all covariates (P = .03). There appeared to be a threshold effect for the contribution of septal strain to RV systolic function, with an almost linear decrement in RV ejection fraction with septal strain from −18% to −10%. Septal function was not related to RV mass or volume.
Interventricular septal function was linked to RV systolic function independent of other left ventricular regions, even in individuals without clinical cardiovascular disease. This finding confirms animal and human research suggesting the importance of septal function to the right ventricle and implies that changes in septal function could herald RV dysfunction.
ClinicalTrials.gov; No.: NCT00005487; URL: www.clinicaltrials.gov