A guide to echocardiographic assessment in children and adolescents with pulmonary hypertension

Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2021 Aug;11(4):1160-1177. doi: 10.21037/cdt-21-119.


While the current definition of pulmonary hypertension (PH) is still based on haemodynamic variables, transthoracic echocardiography is the most important diagnostic clinical tool for the first assessment and evaluation of a patient, in whom PH is suspected. In addition, it is the most important clinical modality in long term follow-up and the utility of echocardiography has widely been demonstrated in patients with PH. Echocardiography not only reveals the underlying cardiac morphology and diagnosis of any associated cardiac defects. In most patients with PH right ventricular (RV) pressure estimation is feasible. In addition, ventricular systolic and diastolic function, as well as ventricular-ventricular interactions of both ventricles can be assessed by using echocardiography. Maximizing the use of echocardiography by reporting several measures to gain information and quantitatively describe the parameters, that are linked to prognosis, seem particularly appealing in these children, in whom other advanced imaging modalities requiring anaesthesia is associated with a considerable risk. Herein we provide a practical approach and a concise and clinically applicable echocardiographic guidance and present basic variables, which should be obtained at any assessment. Moreover, we present additional advanced echocardiographic measures, that can be applied in a research or clinical setting when progressive PH needs a deeper insight to assess heart function, estimation of pulmonary artery pressures among others, by echocardiography. Finally, clinically relevant studies in view of the prognostic properties with a focus on the most important echocardiographic variables in pediatric PH are summarized.

Keywords: Pulmonary hypertension; children; echocardiography.

Publication types

  • Review