BACKGROUND: In normal left ventricles, clockwise basal rotation and counterclockwise apical rotation result in systolic torsion. Torsion is important for contractile efficiency and may be especially important in single-ventricle (SV) physiology. However, little is known about torsion in patients with SVs. The aim of this study was to measure torsion in SVs and to determine its relationship with other measures of ventricular function. The hypothesis was that torsion would be decreased in all SVs, most significantly in single right ventricles, and that it would correlate with other measures of ventricular function.
METHODS: A prospective cross-sectional study was performed in 61 patients with SVs undergoing pre- or post-Fontan cardiac catheterization and 30 matched control subjects. Echocardiography, catheterization, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging were performed under the same anesthetic. Torsion and strain were measured using speckle-tracking echocardiography. Intracardiac pressures, pulmonary vascular resistance, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging-derived ventricular volume and ejection fraction were measured.
RESULTS: Thirty-five patients were left ventricular dominant, 15 were right ventricular dominant, 10 were codominant, and one had indeterminate morphology. Thirty-seven patients were pre-Fontan and 24 were post-Fontan. Patients with SVs had similar overall torsion as control subjects (median, 1.7°/cm vs 1.65°/cm; P = NS); however, they had decreased or reversed basal rotation (-0.32°/cm vs -0.93°/cm, P < .0001) and increased apical rotation (1.45°/cm vs 1.06°/cm, P = .0065). There were no differences on the basis of ventricular dominance or palliative stage. Torsion did not significantly correlate with other echocardiographic, catheter-based, or cardiac magnetic resonance imaging measures of cardiac function.
CONCLUSIONS: Single left and right ventricles exhibit preserved torsion, mainly because of preserved or increased apical rotation. Possible mechanisms of torsion in single right ventricles include myofiber remodeling and altered ventricular-ventricular interactions. Understanding myocardial deformation in SVs will improve the ability to interpret ventricular function in this precarious population.
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