Cardiology Research and Practice / 2012 / Article / Fig 3

Review Article

Appreciating the Strengths and Weaknesses of Transthoracic Echocardiography in Hemodynamic Assessments

Figure 3

The relationship of venous return and cardiac function in determining cardiac output. As depicted in the venous return curve, venous return reduces with increasing right atrial pressure. The cardiac function curve illustrates the effect of increasing right atrial pressure on cardiac output (CO). Increasing right atrial pressure causes as increase in CO until a plateau (flat portion) is reached. At equilibrium, CO is determined by the point where two curves cross each other. The right atrial pressure at this point is the preload. The cardiac function curve is also known as the Frank-Starling curve.

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