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Cardiac Anatomy - The Right Ventricle

Image Courtesy of St. Jude Medical

Right Ventricle

          The ventricle on the right side receives blood from the right atrium. This venous blood is directed out of the ventricle through the right ventricular outflow track, across the pulmonic valve into the pulmonary arteries. It is then sent on to the lungs where CO2 is expelled and oxygen is picked up for delivery to the body.

          There are two primary rhythms that involve the right ventricle and the right ventricular outflow track. These are Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplagia and RVOT PVC's and VT. ARVD is somewhat rare and is not encountered as often as ventricular ectopics that originate from the outflow track. For more information on these rhythms, select the highlighted text to be transferred to that area of the web page.

Right Ventricular Physical Structures

          The Right Ventricle is generally separated into two distinct areas, the inflow and outflow regions. The inflow area contains the Tricuspid Valve along with a number of muscular bands pectinate muscles found within the body of the ventricle. The outflow region is smoother along the endocardial surface and terminates at the Pulmonic Valve.

The Inflow Track and Right Ventricle

• Tricuspid Valve

          The Tricuspid Valve is one of two atrioventricular valves. These valves lie between that atria and the ventricle and are attached at a fibrous ring that is referred to as the Annulus Fibrosus. The atrial side of the valves is smooth while the ventricular side is somewhat irregular due to the insertion of the Chordae Tendineae.(1) These structures help the valve maintain its form and thus, its function. The valve is divided into three leaflets, the Anterior, Septal and Posterior leaflets. Each leaflet is anchored along the annulus and are not completely separate from each other. (1)

• Muscular Bands

          There are four primary bands of muscular tissue that encircle the main region of the Right Ventricle. These are the Parietal Band, the Supraventricular Crest, the Septal Band and the Moderator Band. The wall of the ventricle is heavily trabeculated and uneven. (1)

• Papillary Muscles

          The Papillary Muscles act as anchors for the Chordae Tendineae which help to maintain the position and shape of the Tricuspid Valve. These muscles are referred to as the Right Anterior, Right Septal (medial) and Right Posterior Papillary Muscles.(1)

Right Ventricular Outflow Track

          The initial aspect of the Outflow Track is known as the Infundibulum. This area is noticeably smoother than the body of the ventricle itself. This region extends up to the Pulmonic Valve and is a region that is often the target of PVC ablation. This region lies anterior to the Left Ventricular Outflow Track and is one of the most superior regions in the heart.

• The Pulmonic Valve

          The Pulmonic Valve, along with the Aortic valve, are arterial or semilunar valves. Each of these valves has three cusps of near equal size. The Pulmonic Valve seperates the Right Ventricular Outflow Track from the Pulmonary Artery. The three cusps of this semilunar valve are the Anterior, Right and Left Cusps.(1)

• Pulmonary Artery

           The Pulmonary Artery carries blood from the right side of the heart to the lungs. It should be noted that this is the only artery in the body that carries venous or deoxygenated blood.

(1) Information found in "The Netter Collection of Medical Illustrations, Volume 5; The Heart" by Netter

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