Pulmonary hypertension is a marker of disease severity. Exercise Doppler echocardiography (EDE) has proven to be feasible and reliable to assess pulmonary pressure. Increase in systolic pulmonary artery pressure (sPAP) has diagnostic and prognostic value in controlled studies. However, its value when assessed during routine examination in patients with cardiopulmonary diseases and resting sPAP > 35 mmHg is not clearly defined. Clinical documentation and offline reevaluation of digitally stored EDE examinations of patients with appropriate clinical indications for EDE were analyzed. N = 278 patients with sPAP at rest > 35 mmHg met inclusion criteria. One patient was lost to follow-up. Mean age of patients was 72 ± 10 years, 178 (64%) of the study population were men. There were no relevant differences among survivors and non-survivors concerning comorbidities. Exercise performance (3.6 ± 1.2 vs. 4.9 ± 1.4 MET, p < 0.001) was lower, whereas sPAP during exercise was higher (67.3 ± 14.7 vs. 62.1 ± 13.2 mmHg, p = 0.027) in non-survivors. Univariate predictors of all-cause mortality were NYHA functional class III (HR = 2.56, p < 0.001), ≥ 2-vessels coronary artery disease (CAD) (HR = 1.93, p = 0.04), left atrial diameter > 45 mm (HR = 2.58, p < 0.001), rest sPAP > 42 mmHg (HR = 1.94, p = 0.010) and ΔsPAP increase ≥ 0.23 mmHg/Watt (HF = 1.92, p = 0.010). After multivariate analysis, NYHA functional class III (HR = 2.35, p < 0.001), LA diameter (HR = 2.28, p = 0.003) and sPAP increase ≥ 0.23 mmHg/Watt (HF = 2.19, p = 0.002) remained significant predictors of mortality, whereas a double product (HR = 0.42, p = 0.005) was associated with better prognosis. sPAP assessment during routine EDE provides relevant prognostic information comparable to findings in studies in selected populations. A higher sPAP increase at lower exercise performance shows significant association with increased of mortality.
Keywords: Exercise Doppler echocardiography; Heart failure; Pulmonary hypertension.