Rationale and objectives: To retrospectively determine the value of a volumetric ventricle analysis for the assessment of right ventricular dysfunction in patients with suspected pulmonary embolism (PE) by using image data from non-electrocardiographically (ECG)-gated multidetector computed tomography angiography (CTA).
Materials and methods: Hypothesizing that the presence of PE and the embolus location correlated with right ventricular dysfunction, we retrospectively analyzed 100 non-ECG-gated pulmonary CTA datasets of patients with central, peripheral, and without PE. Right ventricle/left ventricle (RV/LV) diameter ratio measured in transverse sections (RV/LV(trans)), four-chamber view (RV/LV(4ch)), and RV/LV volume ratio (RV/LV(vol)) were assessed on CT images. The results were correlated with the embolus location, the 30-day mortality rate, and the necessity of intensive care treatment.
Results: All CT parameters showed statistically significant differences between all patients groups depended on embolus location. The receiver operating characteristic analysis RV/LV(vol) showed the strongest discriminatory power to differ between patients with central and without PE and between patients with central and peripheral PE (central PE vs. no PE: RV/LV(vol) = 0.932, RV/LV(trans) = 0.880, and RV/LV(4ch) = 0.811, central PE vs. peripheral PE: RV/LV(vol) = 0.950, RV/LV(trans) = 0.849, and RV/LV(4ch) = 0.881), indicating a correlation with embolus location predisposing for RVD. For the identification of high-risk patients with PE all three CT parameters showed statistically significant values (P < .0001), whereas in the receiver operating characteristic analysis, RV/LV(vol) had the strongest discriminatory power (RV/LV(vol) = 0.819, RV/LV(trans) = 0.799, and RV/LV(4ch) = 0.758).
Conclusion: Ventricle volumetry of non-ECG-gated CTA allows the assessment of right ventricular dysfunction in patients with acute PE. Compared to unidimensional measurements, a volumetric analysis seems to be slightly superior to identify high-risk patients with adverse clinical outcome. However, the method is more time consuming and requires dedicated software tools compared to unidimensional parameters, which is disadvantageous in an emergency setting.