Background: In patients with idiopathic pulmonary hypertension (IPAH) progression of the disease and survival are related to the capability of the right ventricle to adapt to the chronically elevated pulmonary artery pressure. Although several echocardiographic variables have been associated with outcome in previous studies, a comparative evaluation of all right ventricular (RV) function indices obtainable at echocardiography has never been performed.
Methods: 59 patients consecutively admitted in a tertiary referral centre because of IPAH (22 males, mean age 46.3+/-16.1 years, 68% in WHO class III/IV at referral) underwent right heart catheterization and echocardiography. During a median follow-up period of 52 months, 21 patients died and 2 underwent lung transplantation in emergency conditions.
Results: The following parameters were associated with survival: tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE), RV fractional area change, degree of tricuspid regurgitation, inferior vena cava collapsibility, superior vena cava flow velocity pattern, left ventricular diastolic eccentricity index. Patients with TAPSE<or=15 mm and left ventricular eccentricity index >or=1.7 had the highest event rate (51.7 per 100 person year); patients with TAPSE>15 mm and mild or no tricuspid regurgitation had the lowest event rate (2.6 per 100 person year).
Conclusions: A comprehensive echocardiographic assessment of RV systolic and diastolic function based on TAPSE, left ventricular diastolic eccentricity index and degree of tricuspid regurgitation allows an accurate prognostic stratification of patients with IPAH.
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