Three-dimensional in-vivo dimensions of 'He's triangle' during acute left ventricular ischemia

D. T. Lai, F. A. Tibayan, T. A. Timek, D. Liang, G. T. Daughters, Jr Ingels, D. C. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and aim of the study: Changes in the dimensions of 'He's triangle' (formed by mitral leaflet segments subtending two associated chordae tendineae) derived from data obtained in in-vitro mitral valve models have been proposed to provide a mechanistic explanation for mitral leaflet malcoaptation. The in-vivo dynamics of He's triangle, however, have not been hitherto determined. Methods: Radio-opaque markers were placed in 13 sheep to delineate the mitral annulus and four (of an infinite number of possible) He's triangles formed by: (i) the anterior mitral leaflet (AML), first- (CT1) and second-order (CT2) chordae tendineae emanating from the anterior papillary tip (APT1) as well as from the posterior papillary tip (PPT1), respectively; and (ii) the posterior mitral leaflet (PML), CT1 and CT2 emanating from other loci on the anterior as well as the posterior papillary tips (APT2 and PPT2), respectively. Immediately postoperatively (anesthetized, open-chest), three-dimensional end-systolic marker positions were measured before and during circumflex coronary artery occlusion sufficient to produce mitral regurgitation, as verified by echocardiography. Results: During ischemia, three leaflet segments constituting one side of three He's triangles elongated: The AML attached to APT1 and to PPT1 by 1.5 ± 1.2 mm (p <0.001) and 1.3 ± 0.8 mm (p <0.001), respectively, and the posterior leaflet attached to APT2 by 1.4 ± 1.9 mm (p = 0.02). Apart from a 0.9 ± 1.1 mm (p = 0.02) increase in the length of CT2 attached to APT2, the length of the seven other CT1 and CT2 remained relatively unchanged during acute left ventricular ischemia. Conclusion: With acute posterolateral ischemia, the lengths of CT1 and CT2 remained relatively constant, but the AML and PML lengths were not constant as the AML and PML 'unfurled' during acute left ventricular ischemia. These geometric changes may provide further insight into the mechanisms of acute ischemic mitral regurgitation, though it is not clear how they will be clinically helpful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-773
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Heart Valve Disease
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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