BACKGROUND: A treatment based on an interatrial shunt device has been proposed for counteracting elevated pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP) in patients with heart failure and mildly reduced or preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). We tested the theoretical hemodynamic effects of this approach with the use of a previously validated cardiovascular simulation. METHODS AND RESULTS: Rest and exercise hemodynamics data from 2 previous independent studies of patients with HFpEF were simulated. The theoretical effects of a shunt between the right and left atria (diameter up to 12 mm) were determined. The interatrial shunt lowered PCWP by ~3 mm Hg under simulated resting conditions (from 10 to 7 mm Hg) and by ~11 mm Hg under simulated peak exercise conditions (from 28 to 17 mm Hg). Left ventricular cardiac output decreased ~0.5 L/min at rest and ~1.3 L/min at peak exercise, with corresponding increases in right ventricular cardiac output. However, because of the reductions in PCWP, right atrial and pulmonary artery pressures did not increase. A majority of these effects were achieved with a shunt diameter of 8-9 mm. The direction of flow though the shunt was left to right in all of the conditions tested. CONCLUSIONS: The interatrial shunt reduced left-sided cardiac output with a marked reduction in PCWP. This approach may reduce the propensity for heart failure exacerbations and allow patients to exercise longer, thus attaining higher heart rates and cardiac outputs with the shunt compared with no shunt. These results support clinical investigation of this approach and point out key factors necessary to evaluate its safety and hemodynamic effectiveness.
Journal of Cardiac Failure, 2014, Vol 20, Issue 3, p. 212-21