Subjective assessment of right ventricle enlargement from computed tomography pulmonary angiography images

Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2012 Apr;28(4):965-73. doi: 10.1007/s10554-011-9903-5. Epub 2011 Jun 14.


To retrospectively evaluate prognostic accuracy of subjective assessment of right ventricle (RV) enlargement on CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) images in comparison with objective measures of RV enlargement in patients with acute pulmonary embolism (PE). For 200 consecutive patients with acute PE, two readers blinded to patient outcomes subjectively determined whether the maximum RV diameter was greater than that of the left ventricle (LV) using axial CTPA images. For the objective measurements, RV/LV diameter ratios were calculated using axial images and 4-chamber reformatted images. For all assessments, sensitivities and specificities for predicting PE-related death within 30-days and a composite outcome including PE-related death or the need for intensive therapies were compared. The agreement between two readers was 91.5% (kappa = 0.83) and all other assessments had pair-wise agreement over 75% (kappa = 0.53-0.72). There was no significant difference in sensitivity between the subjective and objective methods for predicting both outcomes. The specificity for subjective RV enlargement (55.4-67.7%) was significantly higher than objective measures (45.8-53.1%), except for the 4-chamber views where, for one reader, the specificity of the subjective evaluation was higher but did not reach statistical significance. Complex measurements of RV/LV diameter ratios may not be needed to maximize the prognostic value from CTPA. The radiologist who interprets the CTPA images should report RV enlargement when the RV diameter subjectively appears larger than the LV.

MeSH terms

  • Boston
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Right Ventricular / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hypertrophy, Right Ventricular / etiology
  • Hypertrophy, Right Ventricular / mortality
  • Observer Variation
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Pulmonary Artery / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / complications
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / mortality
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*