The aim of this study was to evaluate which parameter of right ventricular (RV) echocardiographic best mirrors the clinical status of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension. Patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension on epoprostenol therapy were identified via hospital registry. Twenty patients, (16 females, 4 males) were included in the study, 9 with primary pulmonary hypertension and 11 with other diseases. Echocardiograms before therapy and at 22.7 (+/-9.3) months into therapy were compared. The right ventricular myocardial performance index (RVMPI) was measured as the sum of the isometric contraction time and the isometric relaxation time divided by right ventricular ejection time. Other measures included peak tricuspid regurgitation jet velocity (TRV), pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP), pulmonary valve velocity time integral (PVVTI), PASP/PVVTI (as an index of total pulmonary resistance) and symptoms by New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class. Echo parameters of right ventricular function were analyzed in patients, before and during therapy. There was significant improvement of NYHA class in patients following epoprostenol therapy (P < 0.0001). Peak tricuspid regurgitant jet velocity (pre 4.2 +/- 0.6 m/sec, post 3.8 +/- 0.7 m/sec, P = 0.02) and PASP/PVVTI (pre 6.7 +/- 3.3 mmHg/m per second, post 4.8 +/- 2.2 mmHg/m per second, P < 0.0001) were significantly improved during treatment. RVMPI did not improve (pre 0.6 +/- 0.3, post 0.6 +/- 0.3, P = 0.54). Changes in NYHA class did not correlate with changes in RVMPI (P = 0.33) or changes in PASP/PVVTI (P = 0.58). Despite significant improvements in TRV, PASP/PVVTI, and NYHA class, there was no significant change in RVMPI on epoprostenol therapy. Changes in right ventricular indices were not correlated with changes in NYHA class.