Analysis of the characteristics of the flow velocity waveforms in left atrial small arteries and veins in the dog.
To clarify the characteristics of the phasic blood velocity pattern in small arteries and veins on the left atrial surface, we used our newly developed fiber-optic laser Doppler velocimeter. We intended particularly to examine the influence of atrial contraction and relaxation on velocity waveforms to obtain some insight into the nature of the mechanical force acting on the atrial intramyocardial vascular beds. In 14 anesthetized open-chest dogs, the left atrial appendage was gently displaced to expose small branches of the artery and vein. Vessels with an outer diameter of about 150-500 microns were chosen for the measurements because their walls are transparent to laser light. The fiber tip (velocity sensor) was fixed on the vessel surface with a drop of cyanoacrylate when good-quality Doppler signals were consistently observed. Additional experiments with three dogs were performed to observe the blood velocities in the atrial artery and vein during arrhythmia. The blood velocity waveform in the artery was similar to the pattern of aortic pressure during ventricular ejection (peak velocity, 18.8 +/- 7.8 cm/sec) but was characterized by a pronounced dip during atrial contraction. The temporal coincidence between the dip formation and atrial contraction was confirmed during atrial flutter with an atrioventricular block. After isoproterenol administration (2 micrograms i.v.), the acceleration rate of the forward flow velocity increased by 176% (p less than 0.05), and reverse flow appeared during atrial contraction in five cases out of eight (p = 0.013). The blood flow velocity in atrial small veins, on the other hand, was predominant during atrial contraction (peak velocity, 15.6 +/- 5.8 cm/sec). Isoproterenol increased the acceleration rate of this forward flow velocity by 121% (p less than 0.01). Nitroglycerin did not change the blood velocity waveform significantly in atrial arteries or in veins. The phase opposition between arterial inflow into and venous outflow from the atrial myocardium indicates that a large portion of the coronary inflow to the atrial myocardium may be stored due to the presence of atrial myocardial vascular capacitance. We conclude that atrial myocardial contraction impedes atrial inflow and promotes venous outflow from atrial capacitance vessels.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association