The prognostic value of ultrasound evaluation of right ventricular (RV) performance in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) is still a matter of investigation. We studied 140 consecutive patients with chronic CHF and a left ventricular ejection fraction <35%. All patients underwent a complete echocardiographic evaluation that systematically included the measurement of the tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE). During a follow-up period of 24 +/- 14 months, 45 patients died and 7 underwent emergency heart transplantation. At the multivariate survival analysis (Cox regression model) backward stepwise selection identified a prognostic model with 2 parameters: New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III or IV and TAPSE < or =14 mm (p <000). In a subgroup of 97 patients in sinus rhythm in whom mitral inflow Doppler variables could be measured, survival was further analyzed according to a model in which the significant parameters were included in the same order as usually used in routine clinical practice: clinical variables first, left ventricular function data second, mitral Doppler variables third, and indexes of right ventricular (RV) function last. TAPSE < or =14 mm added significant (p <0.03) prognostic information to NYHA class III or IV, left ventricular ejection fraction of <20%, and mitral deceleration time of < 125 ms. In conclusion, in patients with CHF, TAPSE adds significant prognostic information to the NYHA clinical classification, to the echocardiographic evaluation of left ventricular function, and to mitral Doppler variables. Furthermore, the measurement of TAPSE is easy to obtain in all patients, irrespective of heart rate and rhythm.