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Perioperative right ventricular dysfunction in adult patients undergoing non-complex cardiac surgery: diagnosis and management

  • Andreja Möller Petrun1,2
  • Marko Zdravkovic1,2,3,*,
  • Robert Berger1
  • Denis Sraka1
  • Dusan Mekis1,2

1Department of anaesthesiology, intensive care and pain management, University Medical Centre Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia

2Faculty of Medicine, University of Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia

3Faculty of Medicine, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

DOI: 10.22514/sv.2023.047 Vol.19,Issue 5,September 2023 pp.11-22

Submitted: 31 October 2022 Accepted: 30 December 2022

Published: 08 September 2023

*Corresponding Author(s): Marko Zdravkovic E-mail:


Even though there is no precise consensus on definition of the right ventricular dysfunction and the right ventricular failure, their reported incidence after cardiac surgery ranges from 0.04% to 2.9%. Right ventricular dysfunction is clinically important because it has been consistently shown to have a negative impact on the perioperative outcomes. In this article we explore current evidence on perioperative diagnosis and management of adult patients with right ventricular dysfunction who are undergoing non-complex cardiac surgery. We propose criteria for the right ventricular dysfunction, describe its pathophysiological mechanisms, diagnostic and therapeutic options as well as current challenges. The function of the right ventricle is determined by preload, afterload, contractility, ventricular interdependence, and heart rhythm. These five factors should all be assessed in a particular patient. Right ventricular dysfunction is not always easy to confirm. Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography are the mainstay of diagnosis. Also, clinical and laboratory findings should be considered especially when the patient approaches the extreme of right ventricular dysfunction spectrum—right ventricular failure. Right ventricular failure should be anticipated, and management focused on its prevention and treatment of the underlying cause. The clinical aim is to optimise the volume status, minimise the right ventricular afterload, optimise right ventricular free wall and interventricular septum performance, and to maximise the left heart pressure work. If the patient does not respond to conservative therapy, mechanical support should be promptly considered.


Right ventricle; Right ventricular dysfunction; Right ventricular failure; Heart failure; Cardiac surgery; Management; Diagnosis; Definition

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Andreja Möller Petrun,Marko Zdravkovic,Robert Berger,Denis Sraka,Dusan Mekis. Perioperative right ventricular dysfunction in adult patients undergoing non-complex cardiac surgery: diagnosis and management. Signa Vitae. 2023. 19(5);11-22.


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