Pulmonary Congestion During Exercise Stress Echocardiography in Ischemic and Heart Failure Patients

Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2022 May;15(5):e013558. doi: 10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.121.013558. Epub 2022 May 17.


Background: Lung ultrasound detects pulmonary congestion as B-lines at rest, and more frequently, during exercise stress echocardiography (ESE).

Methods: We performed ESE plus lung ultrasound (4-site simplified scan) in 4392 subjects referred for semi-supine bike ESE in 24 certified centers in 9 countries. B-line score ranged from 0 (normal) to 40 (severely abnormal). Five different populations were evaluated: control subjects (n=103); chronic coronary syndromes (n=3701); heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (n=395); heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (n=70); ischemic mitral regurgitation ≥ moderate at rest (n=123). In a subset of 2478 patients, follow-up information was available.

Results: During ESE, B-lines increased in all study groups except controls. Age, hypertension, abnormal ejection fraction, peak wall motion score index, and abnormal heart rate reserve were associated with B-lines in multivariable regression analysis. Stress B lines (hazard ratio, 2.179 [95% CI, 1.015-4.680]; P=0.046) and ejection fraction <50% (hazard ratio, 2.942 [95% CI, 1.268-6.822]; P=0.012) were independent predictors of all-cause death (n=29 after a median follow-up of 29 months).

Conclusions: B-lines identify the pulmonary congestion phenotype at rest, and more frequently, during ESE in ischemic and heart failure patients. Stress B-lines may help to refine risk stratification in these patients.

Registration: URL: https://www.

Clinicaltrials: gov; Unique identifier: NCT03049995.

Keywords: coronary artery disease; echocardiography; heart failure; hypertension; lung; stress echocardiography.

MeSH terms

  • Echocardiography, Stress*
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Prognosis
  • Stroke Volume / physiology

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03049995