What is regional wall motion abnormality?

What is regional wall motion abnormality?

Regional wall motion abnormality means that the motion of a region of the heart muscle is abnormal. It is a term commonly used in echocardiography. Echocardiography is ultrasound imaging of the heart. Very often echocardiography reports use the short form RWMA instead of the full form regional wall motion abnormality.

Other tests used to image motion of the heart also use this term. These include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and nuclear scan of the heart. Magnetic resonance imaging of the heart is called cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR).

Importance of regional wall motion abnormality

Regional wall motion abnormality usually occurs in the region of the heart muscle supplied by a diseased blood vessel. For example, lower portion of the left ventricle does not contract well if the right coronary artery is involved. Left ventricle is the lower muscular chamber of the heart which pumps blood to the whole body. Coronary arteries are blood vessels supplying oxygenated blood to the heart.

What are the types of regional wall motion abnormality?

Different types of regional wall motion abnormality of the heart are:

Hypokinesia: Reduced contraction of a region of the heart muscle.

Akinesia: A region of the heart muscle is not contracting at all.

Hyperkinesia: A region of the heart muscle is contracting more vigorously than normal.

Dyskinesia: A region of the heart muscle bulges out when the rest of the heart is contracting.


If the whole left ventricle is not contracting well, then it is called global hypokinesia. This occurs in a heart muscle disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy, which weakens the pumping function of the heart. Then it is not a regional wall motion abnormality, but a global abnormality of the whole left ventricle.