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Myocardial adaptation and exercise performance in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension assessed with patient-specific computer simulations

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Myocardial function and exercise reserve are important determinants of outcome in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) but are incompletely understood. For this study, we performed subject-specific computer simulations, based on invasive measurements and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR), to investigate whole circulation properties in PAH at rest and exercise and determinants of exercise reserve. CMR and right heart catheterization were performed in nine patients with idiopathic PAH, and CMR in 10 healthy controls. CMR during exercise was performed in seven patients with PAH. A full-circulation computer model was developed, and model parameters were optimized at the individual level. Patient-specific simulations were used to analyze the effect of right ventricular (RV) inotropic reserve on exercise performance. Simulations achieved a high consistency with observed data. RV contractile force was increased in patients with PAH (127.1 ± 28.7 kPa vs. 70.5 ± 14.5 kPa, P < 0.001), whereas left ventricular contractile force was reduced (107.5 ± 17.5 kPa vs. 133.9 ± 10.3 kPa, P = 0.002). During exercise, RV contractile force increased by 1.56 ± 0.17, P = 0.001. In silico experiments confirmed RV inotropic reserve as the important limiting factor for cardiac output. Subject-specific computer simulation of myocardial mechanics in PAH is feasible and can be used to evaluate myocardial performance. With this method, we demonstrate marked functional myocardial adaptation to PAH in the resting state, primarily composed of increased contractile force development by RV myofibers, and we show the negative impact of reduced RV inotropic reserve on cardiac output during exercise.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Computer simulations of the myocardial mechanics and hemodynamics of rest and exercise were performed in nine patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension and 10 control subjects, with the use of data from invasive catheterization and from cardiac magnetic resonance. This approach allowed a detailed analysis of myocardial adaptation to pulmonary arterial hypertension and showed how reduction in right ventricular inotropic reserve is the important limiting factor for an increase in cardiac output during exercise.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology: Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)H865-H880
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021

    Research areas

  • Adaptation, Physiological, Adult, Cardiac Catheterization, Case-Control Studies, Exercise Test, Exercise Tolerance, Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension/diagnosis, Female, Heart Ventricles/diagnostic imaging, Hemodynamics, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine, Male, Middle Aged, Models, Cardiovascular, Patient-Specific Modeling, Predictive Value of Tests, Ventricular Function, Right

ID: 70544856