Aortic flow conditions predict ejection efficiency in the NHLBI-Sponsored Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE)

Mark Doyle, Gerald M. Pohost, C. Noel Bairey Merz, Victor Farah, Leslee J. Shaw, George Sopko, William J. Rogers, Barry L. Sharaf, Carl J. Pepine, Diane V. Thompson, Geetha Rayarao, Lindsey Tauxe, Sheryl F. Kelsey, Robert W.W. Biederman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: The Windkessel model of the cardiovascular system, both in its original wind-chamber and flow-pipe form, and in its electrical circuit analog has been used for over a century to modeled left ventricular ejection conditions. Using parameters obtained from aortic flow we formed a Flow Index that is proportional to the impedance of such a "circuit". We show that the impedance varies with ejection fraction (EF) in a manner characteristic of a resonant circuit with multiple resonance points, with each resonance point centrally located in a small range of EF values, i.e., corresponding to multiple contiguous EF bands. Methods: Two target populations were used: (I) a development group comprising male and female subjects (n=112) undergoing cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging for a variety of cardiac conditions. The Flow Index was developed using aortic flow data and its relationship to left ventricular EF was shown. (II) An illustration group comprised of female subjects from the Women's Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation (WISE) (n=201) followed for 5 years for occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). Flow data was not available in this group but since the Flow Index was related to the EF we noted the MACE rate with respect to EF. Results: The EFs of the development population covered a wide range (9%-76%) traversing six Flow Index resonance bands. Within each Flow Index resonance band the impedance varied from highly capacitive at the lower range of EF through minimal impedance at resonance, to highly inductive at the higher range of EF, which is characteristic of a resonant circuit. When transitioning from one EF band to a higher band, the Flow Index made a sudden transition from highly inductive to capacitive impedance modes. MACE occurred in 26 (13%) of the WISE (illustration) population. Distance in EF units (Deltacenter) from the central location between peaks of MACE activity was derived from EF data and was predictive of MACE rate with an area under the receiver operator curve of 0.73. Of special interest, Deltacenter was highly predictive of MACE in the sub-set of women with EF >60% (AUC 0.79) while EF was no more predictive than random chance (AUC 0.48). Conclusions: A Flow Index that describes impedance conditions of left ventricular ejection can be calculated using data obtained completely from the ascending aorta. The Flow Index exhibits a periodic variation with EF, and in a separate illustration population the occurrence of MACE was observed to exhibit a similar periodic variation with EF, even in cases of normal EF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-295
Number of pages8
JournalCardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Aortic flow
  • Ejection fraction
  • Impedance
  • Prognosis


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