Historically, the right heart was viewed as less important than the left heart in the maintenance of normal overall hemodynamic performance. However, there is now considerable evidence that emphasizes the significance of intact right ventricular (RV) function. The RV's anatomy and physiology are reviewed in order to provide insight into how changes in volume can be accommodated within a low‐pressure environment and how this contributes to hemodynamic stability. The interdependent relationship between the right and left ventricles is also explored. The contribution of RV performance to overall hemodynamics is best exemplified when the RV becomes diseased. RV infarction, atrial septal defect, and cor pulmonale are used as examples to illustrate the dramatic sequelae associated with RV dysfunction, as well as to identify the RV's specific adaptive mechanisms. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
- atrial septal defect
- cor pulmonale
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine