A novel technique for measurement of pericardial pressure

Gwyneth Devries, Douglas R. Hamilton, Henk E D J Ter Keurs, Rafael Beyar, John V. Tyberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


To determine whether pericardial liquid pressure accurately measures pericardial constraint, we developed a technique in which a catheter was positioned perpendicular to the epicardial surface. This device, which occupies little or no pericardial space, couples the thin film of liquid to a transducer. In six open-chest dogs, we also measured left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP) and anteroposterior and septum-to-free wall diameters. LVEDP was raised incrementally to ∼25 mmHg by saline infusion. With the use of the product of the two diameters as an index of area (ALV), LVEDP-ALV relationships were obtained with the pericardium closed and again after the pericardium had been widely opened to obtain the isovolumic difference in LVEDP (ALVEDP). In all dogs, the technique yielded values of pericardial pressure equal to ALVEDP as well as equal to that measured using a previously placed balloon transducer in the same location and at the same ALV. We conclude that, when the pressure of the pericardial liquid is appropriately measured, it (in addition to the balloon-measured contact stress) defines the diastolic constraining effect of the pericardium. Furthermore, we suggest that earlier measurements of pericardial "liquid pressure" were low, due to an artifact of measurement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 49-6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Balloon
  • Catheters
  • Mechanics
  • Pericardium
  • Physiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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