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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2011 August;59(4):349-73


language: English

Imaging and modern assessment of the right ventricle

Le Tourneau T. 1, 2, Piriou N. 2, Donal E 3., Deswarte G. 4, Topilsky Y. 2, Lamblin N. 4, Warin-Fresse K. 2, Crochet D. 2, Damy T. 5, Trochu J. N. 2

1 Laboratoire d’Explorations Fonctionnelles, CHU, Nantes, France; 2 Inserm, UMR915, Université de Nantes, CHU Nantes, L’Institut du Thorax, Nantes, France; 3 CIC-IR 804, LTSI Inserm U642, Hôpital Pontchaillou-CHU, Rennes, France; 4 Inserm U744, Hôpital Cardiologique, CHRU de Lille, Lille, France; 5 Inserm, U955, Université Paris 12, CHU Henri Mondor, Créteil, France


The right ventricular function is difficult to assess owing to its complex morphology, structure and function. The right ventricle (RV) comprises three compartments, the inlet, the apex, and the outlet contracting with a peristaltic motion from the inflow to the outflow chamber and is tightly linked to left ventricular (LV) function through the pulmonary circulation, the interventricular septum and the myocardium inside the pericardial envelop. The relation of RV function to symptom occurrence, exercise capacity and prognosis in a wide variety of cardiac diseases emphasizes the usefulness of its routine assessment. The evaluation of the RV is largely carried out by echocardiography in daily clinical practice despite important limitations inherent to two-dimensional imaging. Multiple views and numerous parameters allow clinicians to integrate the RV function in the clinical decision-making process. Recent modalities of echocardiography such as myocardial deformation and three-dimensional imaging or exercise echocardiography are promising tools for the assessment of the RV. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging provides the unique opportunity to image the RV in motion and in three dimensions without the limitation of echogenicity. Therefore, cardiac magnetic resonance imaging is taking a growing place in the assessment of the RV in a wide variety of cardio-pulmonary diseases as pulmonary hypertension, ischemia, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, heart failure or congenital heart diseases. Integrating the complex interplay between both ventricles and the pulmonary circulation, this review will discuss the latest results of standard and novel techniques allowing the assessment of RV function by echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, and will provide to the clinicians, facing therapeutic challenges, a comprehensive overview of right heart function.

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