Background: Transthoracic echocardiographic (TTE) imaging is the mainstay of clinical practice for evaluating right ventricular (RV) size and function, but its accuracy in patients with pulmonary hypertension has not been well validated.
Methods: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and TTE images were retrospectively reviewed in 40 consecutive patients with pulmonary hypertension. RV and left ventricular volumes and ejection fractions were calculated using MRI. TTE areas and indices of RV ejection fraction (RVEF) were compared.
Results: The average age was 42 ± 12 years, with a majority of women (85%). There was a wide range of mean pulmonary arterial pressures (27-81 mm Hg) and RV end-diastolic volumes (111-576 mL), RVEFs (8%-67 %), and left ventricular ejection fractions (26%-72%) by MRI. There was a strong association between TTE and MRI-derived parameters: RV end-diastolic area (by TTE imaging) and RV end-diastolic volume (by MRI), R(2) = 0.78 (P < .001); RV fractional area change by TTE imaging and RVEF by MRI, R(2) = 0.76 (P < .001); and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion by TTE imaging and RVEF by MRI, R(2) = 0.64 (P < .001). By receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, an RV fractional area change < 25% provided excellent discrimination of moderate systolic dysfunction (RVEF < 35%), with an area under the curve of 0.97 (P < .001). An RV end-diastolic area index of 18 cm(2)/m(2) provided excellent discrimination for moderate RV enlargement (area under the curve, 0.89; P < .001).
Conclusions: Echocardiographic estimates of RV volume (by RV end-diastolic area) and function (by RV fractional area change and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion) offer good approximations of RV size and function in patients with pulmonary hypertension and allow the accurate discrimination of normal from abnormal.
Keywords: Echocardiography; MRI; Pulmonary hypertension; Right ventricle.
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