Background: Clinical and experimental studies of mitral valve replacement have shown a depression of ventricular function after chordal transsection; most recent studies have proposed that this is secondary to a depression of local function near the papillary muscle insertion site. However, there is no direct experimental evidence for changes in local fiber shortening in the wall of the left ventricle overlying the papillary muscle. Accordingly, we investigated the effect of chordal transsection on left ventricular shape and on three-dimensional regional deformation of the myocardium near the insertion of the anterior papillary muscle. Methods and Results: In six open- chest dogs, two sets of three transmural columns of radiopaque markers were implanted in the anterior wall, one set at the tip of the papillary muscle (basal) and one at the site of papillary muscle fiber insertion (apical). A Bjork-Shiley mitral valve was placed in the left atrium adjacent to the native valve. Markers were then tracked with biplane cineradiography, and deformation was quantified with the use of finite strain analysis. Chordal transsection resulted in reduced left ventricular end-systolic pressure and slowed relaxation. After chordal transsection, outward displacement of the ventricular wall and transverse shearing deformation were observed in the area of the papillary muscle during isovolumic contraction. Circumferential and radial strains during ejection were maintained at our basal site and enhanced on our apical site. Conclusions: Chordal transsection led to enhanced local shortening and wall thickening and regional strain nonuniformity. These results indicate that chordal transsection induces an unloading of myocardium at the papillary muscle insertion site and that the resulting heterogeneity of regional function is the mechanism for the reduced global function and slowed ventricular relaxation.