Echocardiographic Assessment of Right Ventriculo-arterial Coupling: Clinical Correlates and Prognostic Impact in Heart Failure Patients Undergoing Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy

J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2020 Apr;28(2):109-120. doi: 10.4250/jcvi.2019.0094. Epub 2020 Jan 21.


Background: Right ventriculo-arterial coupling (RV-PA) can be estimated by echocardiography using the ratio between tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) and pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) and it has prognostic value in the general heart failure (HF) population. We aimed to study the clinical correlates and prognostic value of RV-PA in HF patients undergoing cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT).

Methods: We retrospectively studied 70 HF patients undergoing CRT implantation.

Results: RV-PA coupling was estimated by TAPSE/PASP ratio using baseline echocardiography. Non-response to CRT was defined as improvement of left ventricular ejection fraction < 5% in a follow-up echo 6-12 months after CRT. Those with lower TAPSE/PASP ratios (worse RV-PA coupling) had higher NT-proBNP concentrations and increased E/e' ratio. TAPSE/PASP ratio and PASP, but not TAPSE, predicted nonresponse to CRT with TAPSE/PASP ratio showing the best discriminative ability with a sensitivity of 76% and specificity of 71%. Among these parameters, PASP independently predicted all-cause mortality.

Conclusions: RV-PA coupling estimated by TAPSE/PASP ratio was associated with established prognostic markers in HF. It numerically outperformed PASP and TAPSE in predicting the response to CRT. Our data suggest that this simple and widely available echocardiographic parameter conveys significant pathophysiological and prognostic meaning in HF patients undergoing CRT.

Keywords: Cardiac resynchronization therapy; Heart failure; Pulmonary circulation; Right ventricle function; Right ventriculo-arterial coupling.