Heart filling exceeds emptying during late ventricular systole in patients with systolic heart failure and healthy subjects – a cardiac MRI study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Total heart volume (THV) within the pericardium is not constant throughout the cardiac cycle and THV would intuitively be lowest at end systole. We have, however, observed a phase shift between ventricular outflow and atrial inflow which causes the minimum THV to occur before end systole. The aims were to explain the mechanism of the late-systolic net inflow to the heart and determine whether this net inflow is affected by increased cardiac output or systolic heart failure. Methods and Results: Healthy controls (n = 21) and patients with EF<35% (n = 14) underwent magnetic resonance imaging with flow measurements in vessels to and from the heart, and this was repeated in nine controls during 140 μgram kg−1 min−1 adenosine infusion. Minimum THV occurred 78 ± 6 ms before end of systolic ejection (8 ± 1% of the cardiac cycle) in controls. The late-systolic net inflow was 12·3 ± 1·1 ml or 6·0 ± 0·5% of total stroke volume (TSV). Cardiac output increased 66 ± 8% during adenosine but late-systolic net inflow to the heart did not change (P = 0·73). In patients with heart failure, late-systolic net inflow of the heart′s left side was lower (3·4 ± 0·5%) compared to healthy subjects (5·3 ± 0·6%, P = 0·03). Conclusions: Heart size increases before end systole due to a late-systolic net inflow which is unaffected by increased cardiac output. This may be explained by inertia of blood that flows into the atria generated by ventricular systole. The lower late-systolic net inflow in patients with systolic heart failure may be a measure of decreased ventricular filling due to decreased systolic function, thus linking systolic to diastolic dysfunction.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems


  • cardiac output, cardiac pumping, diastolic dysfunction
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-200
JournalClinical Physiology and Functional Imaging
Issue number3
Early online date2018 Dec 2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch