To examine the mechanism of mitral flow deceleration in diastole and its potential influence on the genesis of third (S3) and fourth (S4) heart sounds, we simultaneously recorded left atrial and left ventricular pressures (micromanometers), mitral flow velocity (electromagnetic catheter-tip flow velocity meter), and internal and external phonocardiograms in 25 open-chest dogs. Diastolic time intervals, transmitral pressure gradients (planimetry), maximum mitral flow velocity, and acceleration and deceleration of flow were measured under different loading conditions. It was found that deceleration of mitral flow in early and late diastole is always caused by a negative transmitral pressure gradient. After volume loading, diastolic pressures, positive (forward) and negative (backward) transmitral pressure gradients, and acceleration and deceleration of flow increased, and an S3 or S4 appeared (20:25 dogs). These sounds occurred during the phase of flow deceleration and could be recorded from the chest wall, inside the left ventricle, and directly from the epicardial surface of the freely exposed left ventricular wall. After balloon occlusion of the inferior vena cava (17:25 dogs), the opposite changes were observed and gallop sounds disappeared. The results indicate that the left ventricular pressure rise in response to filling reverses the transmitral pressure gradient and decelerates flow. Deceleration of inflow by the left ventricular wall in early and late diastole may represent a key mechanism in the genesis of S3 and S4.
F Van de Werf, J Minten, P Carmeliet, H De Geest, H Kesteloot