Background: Jugular venous pressure (JVP) is assessed to estimate volume status in patients with heart failure because right atrial pressure (RAP) reflects pulmonary capillary wedge pressure (PCWP). In a large cohort of heart failure patients spanning 14 years, we sought to further characterize the relationship between RAP and PCWP, including identifying temporal trends, to optimize estimates of PCWP by JVP. We also sought to determine whether the RAP to PCWP relationship impacts post-transplant mortality.
Methods: Hemodynamic data were obtained from 4,079 patients before cardiac transplantation. Elevated RAP was defined as ≥10 mm Hg and elevated PCWP ≥22 mm Hg. Hemodynamics were "concordant" when both RAP and PCWP were elevated or when both were not elevated. The frequency of concordant hemodynamics was assessed over 3 eras (1993 to 1997, 1998 to 2002, 2003 to 2007). Baseline characteristics were compared among quartiles of the ratio (RAP+1)/PCWP. The association of (RAP+1)/PCWP with 2-year mortality after cardiac transplantation was assessed using multivariate models.
Results: The frequency of concordant hemodynamics over time was stable (74%, 72%, 73%; p = 0.4). Increasing (RAP+1)/PCWP was associated with the following variables: female gender; cardiomyopathy etiology besides ischemic or non-ischemic; prior sternotomies; and lower creatinine clearance (p < 0.01 for all). Elevated (RAP+1)/PCWP was associated with post-transplant mortality (relative risk 1.2, 95% confidence interval 1.02 to 1.37, p = 0.02).
Conclusions: [corrected] RAP and PCWP remain concordant in most heart failure patients, supporting the ongoing use of JVP to estimate PCWP. Easily identifiable patient characteristics were associated with an increased RAP/PCWP ratio, and their presence should alert clinicians that PCWP may be overestimated by JVP assessment. A higher RAP/PCWP ratio was an adverse risk factor for post-cardiac transplant survival.
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