Introduction: Invasive assessment of pulmonary artery pressure (PAP), via right heart catheterization, is part of the usual protocol prior to heart transplantation. Echocardiography is considered a valuable technique to evaluate PAP. We sought to determine the reliability of measurements of PAP via a noninvasive technique, echocardiography, in relation to the estimated PAP via right catheterization. We also determined its safety when invasive procedures are restricted to just patients with pulmonary hypertension (PHT) according to echocardiographic parameters.
Materials and methods: We performed a retrospective study of 67 right catheterizations performed in our hospital, within the heart transplant study protocol, from January 2000 to December 2006. PAP parameters were estimated by echocardiography and right catheterization.
Results: Hemodynamically, 57.1% of the patients had severe PHT (more than 45 mm Hg mean PAP); 13.2% moderate PHT (between 35 and 45 mm Hg mean PAP); 12.1% had mild PHT (between 25 and 35 mm Hg mean PAP); and 17.6% of patients showed no PHT. Pearson correlation index with systolic PAP (estimated via echocardiography) and mean PAP (calculated via invasive method) was 0.69 (P < .001). PHT was considered significant when systolic PAP estimated via echocardiography reached more than 40 mm Hg and mean PAP estimated via right catheterization reached more than 35 mm Hg, the value from which the vasodilator test was carried out. According to these parameters, echocardiography showed a sensitivity of 89% to diagnose significant PHT and 46% specificity, with positive and negative predictive values of 70% and 76%, respectively.