© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Association for Cardio-Thoracic Surgery. All rights reserved. Normal cardiac function of the left and right ventricles, together with the septum, is related to form/function interactions within the helical ventricular myocardial band. This knowledge is a prerequisite to understanding form/function interactions in diseases and for planning new treatments. Topics discussed include congestive heart failure in dilated hearts of ischaemic, valvar or nonischaemic origin as well as diastolic dysfunction. Similar thinking underlies novel treatments for dyssynchrony in pacing, together with focusing upon varying global left or right ventricular anatomy to correct mitral and tricuspid insufficiency caused by tethering of the leaflets. The septum is the lion of the right ventricle and insight is provided into offsetting septal damage during cardiac surgery, rebuilding its anatomical structure in post-tetralogy pulmonary insufficiency, as well as rectifying its dysfunction by decompression in patients with a left ventricular assist device.