First Colloquium and Second General Assembly of the institute at the Johns Hopkins University, the Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cardiovascular Group

Methodology and definition of cardiac contractility

Februar 17, 1987, Baltimore, Maryland - Protocol

Present: K. Sagawa, J. Schaefer, K. Schaffner, B. Burkhoff, D. Yue, J. Schipke, R. Lie, B. Schaefer, S. Sugiura


K. Sagawa: Historical overview on the development of the concept of the end-systolic pressure volume relationship and its modification over the last years

D. Burkhoff: The concept of "contractility"'

K. Schaffner: Cardiac contractility and theory reduction

After these introductions the possibility of a joint project between philosophers of science and experimental researchers on the concept of contractility was discussed. This project should include the following:

1) Study of the history of the concept of contractility, with particular attention to 1) the changes which the concept has gone through from when it was first introduced, 2) the reasons which were given for the changes, and 3) the possibility of "Kuhn-loss".

2) The present status concerning what is known about the determinants of contractile force, and the relationship between this and the concept of contractility. Specifically, evaluation of the Sonnbeblick article, Katz, contractile proteins, Brian Jewell, Dickerson, Sarnoff. Overview of the various models of muscle contraction.

3) The possible clinical usefulness of the project, and in conjunction with that, an investigatino into the justifications which were used to introduce various measures of cardiac "strength" (ejection fraction, dP/dt etc.).

4) Based on the above, a discussion into whether the concept is at all needed, should be modified, or retained. In this discussion one should distinguish between a) clinical usefulness, b) usefulness at the whole heart level, and c) usefulnessat the muscle level.

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